This blog is one part an effort to relay my experiences here through updates and pictures and two parts an outpouring of the lessons God is teaching me in taking up my cross daily and following Him.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What I Have Finally Learned from Daniel!

“God allows hard things in our lives so we can show the world that our God is great and that knowing Him brings peace and joy, even when life is hard.”

In the wake of Daniel’s death, I have found this statement to be truer than I could have ever imagined. God has used Daniel’s death in so many ways to bring glory to Himself. Who are we to question God’s plan or timing, all that we can do is seek peace and joy in Him – seeking always to bring Him more glory.

Seeking God’s glory in everything is one thing that I know Daniel thought about more than anyone else I have ever known.  I know this, because he talked about it. All the time. As humans, we talk about the things that mean the most to us, and Daniel’s conversation fell into two categories: living for the glory of God, and programming for the glory of God. Though he had many quirks and was significantly different than me, the thing for which I remember him most is this: He was always seeking to live for the glory of God!

I have just finished reading Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love” and found this quotation by C.S. Lewis that reminded me of Daniel, and was very challenged: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.

Daniel and I were very different people in almost every aspect, including this one. I wanted to bring glory to God, but really only as far as it fit into my plan for my life. Though I am ashamed to admit it, I have always thought more of this life than the next. I have wanted my career and family, and to serve God with the leftovers of my life. I am only now beginning to learn the most important thing in life—what it really means to live for Christ and to trust Him with and for everything.

I am beginning to see that sadly, to my own discredit, I have learned more from Daniel in his death than in his life. I am beginning to see the devotion and faith that Daniel had for God, and to want that for myself. I am finally beginning to pursue God instead of what should have been my biggest fear—succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. Now, don’t get me wrong, Daniel had plenty of faults, but there is a lot that we can learn from him here.

I have found that in the words of Francis’, I haven’t really wanted to be saved from my sin, just the penalty of it. “We must genuinely hate sin and be truly sorry for it; not merely sorry that God will punish us for it!” I have also found myself guilty of loving everything (the things/family/friends) God has given me more than the God who is everything. The question that really challenged me, however, was this: “What are you doing right now that requires faith?” Can you think of even one thing?

In the last few days God has shown me that I have never wholly surrendered my life to Him. There is no human explanation why a perfect God would continue to love and pursue a sinner like me, but He has finally brought me to a place where I am not only willing, but desiring to say, “Lord, here is my life. Do with it as you will. I am willing to follow you to the end of the world. I am willing to sacrifice my relationships with family and friends, and my own personal desires, dreams, and goals, to serve you, wherever and however that may be.”

I have finally decided to follow Jesus; no turning back. Though none go with me, I still will follow; no turning back.

I know it will not be easy; I know I will often not feel like it. At times I may wonder how I will survive or where my next meal will come from; in times like these, others may look at me with ridicule. Yet, God has graciously given me each day. Each breath comes from Him. No longer can I spend my life serving myself. I am compelled hereafter to seek an eternal return on the gifts that God has given me.


Ivan said...

Great reflection and refocus! Thanks for sharing from your heart.

Imp said...

Amen, Ben. Thank you for the 'refocus' as Ivan said.