“I wish …”
- I had started earlier.
- I had listened better.
- I had read more.
- I had watched more closely.
- I had moved more slowly.
- I had learned more quickly.
- I had seen more clearly.
- I had trusted more fully.
- I had rejoiced more readily.
- I had wept more willingly.
- I had loved more openly.
- I had lived more heroically!
I suppose these all are frank expressions of regret—godly regret, I hope—but they aren’t declarations of defeat. I’m convicted by my failures, but not crushed. Rebuked by them, but not wrecked. Humbled, but not hopeless. Why? The Gospel!
“I’m glad …”
- For the values God instilled in me from my childhood.
- For the family I was privileged to grow up in.
- For the friends who have shaped me in countless good ways over the years.
- For the grace of God that delivered me from the dominion of darkness and set me safe in the kingdom of the Son whom he loves.
- For the companion God gave me in my sweet wife.
- For the four precious children we were blessed to have and hold and hurt with and hope for.
- For the countless mercies the Lord has shown to me day after day through these sixty-plus years.
- For his gentle discipline and humbling truth.
- For calling me, though I’m the least of all, to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.
- For bringing me to Orange Hill Baptist Church and giving us these years together, “working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
These are the merest fraction of the blessings I’ve known—gracious blessings all—and none are declarations of worth or entitlement. I know more painfully than ever what my “due” is, so I stand more amazed than ever in the presence of God’s goodness and give him the glory. Why? The Gospel!
“I hope …”
- To be a better husband.
- To be a better father.
- To be a better pastor.
- To be a better friend.
- To be a better man.
- To better live in a way worthy of the gospel.
- To make the most of every opportunity.
- To redeem the time.
- To finish the race.
- To keep the faith.
- To get home before dark.
- And to see you there at last!
I am overwhelmed with God’s faithfulness to us, and grateful for all he’s doing in us, among us, and through us. And I’m full of hope that God has more, and greater, things for us than any of us have yet imagined. Why? The Gospel!
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” — Jude 24-25