Yesterday was Valentine's Day. And that fact takes me back to one of the first blog posts I ever wrote—almost exactly 4 years ago. The link is here: Valentine's Day 2012 (click those words J), and it would add to this post’s meaning if you perused it before continuing. It proves the statement by KJ-52 in his song, “Can I Be Honest” where he says, “Hindsight is 20/20 so I'm like whatever,” except that in my case I would change the “whatever” to “what’s next?”.
You see, yesterday was a very good day, despite it being the first Sunday in more than three years that I’ve had to work during church. It was the first Valentine's Day in which I have actually spent time with my valentine. The closest I’ve come prior to yesterday was a long-distance “relationship” that maybe included a phone call on Valentine's Day, or the year prior when I might have talked to a girl through text or phone call on Valentine's Day. But yesterday—because past years don’t matter; the question is: what will my future look like?—was so different on so many levels. I’ve been very quick in the past to throw out the phrase, “I love you,” to girls I’m interested in (none of which have lasted more than 3 months from meeting to breaking up) and yesterday marked more than six months when I finally verbalized it. (Maybe the crazy spicy Indian food I ate at dinner made me crazy, but I doubt it.) The thing is, my past translated “I love you” into “I love what I can get from you,” but Jesus defines love on the cross and John explains in 1 John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us; in the same way we also ought to love one another.” If I’m going to love anyone rightly (and I tried to explain this to her, but might have done a bad job in the moment) I need to remove myself from the picture. (Which I almost literally did while driving after saying those words; thank You Jesus for warning bumps on roads!)
But that’s all as far as that is concerned. Worrying about relationships four years ago this week and stressing about them for the three and a half years that followed, has been turned into a lesson in hindsight being 20/20. The girl God has graciously placed in my life is a gem of an individual in so many ways. I don’t know if she even has a clue how much she means to me. (And as she reminded me yesterday,) God would still be perfectly good if He took her out of my life, because God is infinitely worth more than any human being, even though it’s often hard to see it in that light. I do pray that yesterday was the first of many Valentine's Days that we will spend with each other.
But that’s not all. Four years ago today I was in the place of trying to figure out the rest of my life—not just who my future wife would be. And now, four years later, I have a much clearer picture of a lot of things in my future. Four years ago I was wondering what to do about school after junior college: I went to Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri and got a Bachelor’s of Arts in Biblical Studies. Then, because of the girl I speak so much about, I decided to move to Bolivar, MO and look for a job. Seminary is hopefully in the future, along with church planting, but I found a job—a really good job—much sooner than I ever expected at the Walgreens directly across from SBU. With this job, I have the potential to be transferred just about anywhere in the United States, which I can use to my benefit to plant a church somewhere that needs it and fulfill my ultimate desire to be a pastor someday.
I remember four years ago sitting in Starbucks and writing that post. I remember how unsure I was about the future. I remember how depressed I was at the lack of “romance” in my life. And I know where I am today: dating a fabulous, godly woman; working and making more money than I’ve ever made before; in the process of joining a church; serving guys that I know who are still at SBU; and worried about the future not looking like I want it to look. However, reflecting back on my post from four years ago reminds me that God has the whole world in His hands, which does not exclude my life, and if He can prove faithful over the past four years, even though I struggle daily with walking in His will and trusting that where I am walking actually is His will, then He will prove Himself faithful over the next 2, 4, 6, 8, 20, etc. years.
To go back to the KJ-52 song I mentioned earlier:
I'm not perfect I serve a God who is
I serve a God who lives who says that I'm His kid
When I shoot for the mark but I shoot and miss
I serve a God who gives a new start and He forgives
And takes every thing I ever did
Then He throws it in the sea of forgetfulness
See I'm just being honest I hope your getting this
Cuz He's my promise the reason that I live
The apostle Paul concludes Romans 11 well, and they are words that I must daily remember:
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of [Yahweh], or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.