Today we had the privilege of being in worship with James Howell at Myers Park UMC. He shared with us a sermon using the text for Christ the King Sunday, the book of Daniel. In his sermon he referenced the time when C.S. Lewis was dying and his long-time friend professor JRR Tolkien came to visit. They talked as two old writers would… about stories.
In their conversation Lewis says about his future: “Each new chapter is better than the one before.” James used this illustration to bring comfort to all of us on this last Sunday of the Church year.
I was deeply touched by James’ preaching, as I always am. Today he caused me to think about the chapters of my life, and that God was in each of those chapters… whether I knew it or not.
God was there in that chapter of my life when born premature I had to be taken from Annie Penn Hospital to Baptist Hospital in order to survive. God was there in that chapter.
When in my growing up years as a four year old, needing iron, eating dirt to fill that mineral deficiency in my body… God was there helping to write that chapter.
When in my teenage years, when seeking to find a way in a most confusing world – without any direction – God was there to help write that chapter.
In my war years in the Marine Corps serving in Vietnam – during very scaring and unreal times in an unreal place, God was there to write that chapter of my life.
In my family life when I sought to marry and raise a family, not knowing how to do either, God was there to help write that chapter.
When struggling with and answering the call to ministry, through all of my fears and doubts, God was there to write that long, long chapter.
In my retirement years, when there is a rediscovery and re-identification of who I am away from ministry, God is there helping to write this chapter.
In the last few months, when most exertion of energy leads to shortness of breath and light-headedness… when I can’t do much of anything, God is here now to let me know that we are still writing chapters of my life together. And God will be with me in the next chapter as well.
As I look back over my life I can truthfully say that all the chapters of my life have been meaningful, enlightening, full of purpose and overflowing with God’s grace.
Thank you God for walking with me in this long journey and holding me close every single day… especially when I didn’t know you were there.
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