Like most people, I sometimes sink into a funk, in spite of the blessings I experience. Most of it comes from a keen awareness of my unworthiness of these blessings. The recent passing of friends my own age makes me also keenly aware of my own mortality. Tomorrow is guaranteed for none of us. I find myself tuning in to every vibration of my heart. Every skipped beat or rushed pattern scares me. My fears are mostly for my family and how they must cope if God were to take me. I know the pain of losing others; I do not want them to experience that on my behalf. Also, the job is not done, and I do not want to leave before it is. I have kids to raise and a church to pastor and a wife to love and the gift of life to enjoy.
When these fears arise, I search my life for consolations--things that would make it all right if God were to take me. And I find that every consolation I want to grab onto is ultimately insufficient: My reputation, my life insurance, my accomplishments, my education, the good character of my children, the temporariness of the inevitable grief, even the unfoundedness of my mortal fears is itself an unfounded consolation. I am driven in those moments to the only remaining consolation that has any real meaning: Christ alone is my consolation--the fear cannot be entirely assuaged by anything else. Nothing else is worth meditating upon in those moments. Even if God grants me long life, nothing that comes next can compare to the glory of knowing Christ. I am his child, he will do with me what he will, and I will be with him for eternity. His love for me does not fail, in spite of my failings.
The question that remains is how can I glorify God in my present circumstances whatever they may be. It is possible to do so regardless of the circumstances. My reputation can be thrown in the dust. My wife could leave me. My children could forsake the church and never speak to me again. I could lose my ministry and need to work a job that just gets me by and seems to have no larger significance than that. Even then I can glorify God. The questions is, how?
I know it must start with this: whether I live or die, Christ is my consolation. There is glory for God and joy for me if I can settle this deep in my heart.