MY BIGGEST MISTAKE
Let me begin with an illustration. I’ve never smoked, never done a single drug, never touched alcohol. I don’t eat junk food. I am extremely disciplined in my health, my sleep, my exercise, and my daily routines. I frequently wash my hands, always when coming home from running errands. I use a daily, saline nasal spray. My hygiene is meticulous. And yet, last December, January, and February I was sick with a horrendous cough. It would not stop, no matter what I did. Eventually the pain in my ribs from coughing was so bad, that I cried out in pain each time I coughed while clutching a pillow to my side. I went to see a pulmonary specialist, did some tests, had some X-rays, only to be told I had two cracked ribs from coughing, and I now had severe asthma!! The doctor prescribed a very expensive monthly inhaler. I was stunned, incredulous if I am honest, but I was also furious!! I’ve never smoked!! I’ve never used drugs! I’ve taken extremely good care of my health in every way. This is not supposed to be happening to me!
That some corrupt, wicked communists released this despicable virus from their lab, only to have it rob me of my good health is unconscionable! Yet, I am faced with the reality that no matter how much effort I exerted to stay healthy, no matter how much effort, discipline, and clean living I pursued, I cannot escape the impact of this virus giving me severe asthma!
Hear Now The Divine Lesson
No matter who we are, no matter what we do, the fallen brokenness of this world is inescapable. We may escape some of it, we may escape much of it, but we will never escape all of it.
I sincerely believed that if I loved God’s people exceedingly well, demonstrating over and over again my trustworthiness, they would never doubt me, or betray me. I was wrong. I was mistaken.
I sincerely believed with the tremendous wisdom God gives, that as a wise master builder, I could build churches and leaders that would stand the test of time, that wouldn’t falter or succumb to corruption. I was wrong. I was mistaken.
I sincerely believed that my righteous life and integrity would protect me, saving me from false accusations and slanderous lies being believed, especially among Christians who knew me so well, who I sacrificially served and laid my life down for. I was wrong. I was mistaken.
You see my dear friends, there is no escaping the fallen brokenness of this world completely. It is just not possible! Our world is truly that corrupt, that broken, that overwhelmingly infected.
I had a Pastor friend, who loved his family with all his heart. An extremely God-honoring, deeply spiritual man, a wonderful father, who served them tirelessly, only to have a child grow up, sell drugs and end up in jail.
I had another Pastor friend, who loved his family with all his heart. An extremely God honoring, deeply spiritual man, a wonderful father, and yet one of his children embraced the gay lifestyle.
I knew another Pastor friend, who loved his family with all his heart. An extremely God honoring, deeply spiritual man, a wonderful father, who had a child struggle so greatly with depression they took their own life.
I knew another Pastor, who loved his family with all his heart. An extremely God honoring, deeply spiritual man, a man full of gentleness and grace, who loved his wife devotedly only to have her leave him because she said he did not make enough money to adequately care for her.
Looking back on each of these heartbreaking, gut wrenching stories, I surmised at the time: They must have missed something vital and important. If only they’d had more wisdom, more insight, these things could have been avoided. I was wrong. I was mistaken.
The reality is this: These dear men, did everything they could possibly do at the time, they tried their very best, but they could not escape the fallen brokenness of this world. They could not keep the brokenness of this world from touching them in some deeply, painful personal way.
This belief that we can somehow escape, you see, is the naivete of spiritual idealism! It is our misinformed, spiritual idealism that over time becomes an impenetrable doctrine, built on false premises and assumptions.
None of us can escape being touched in some deeply, painful personal way by the brokenness and sin infecting this world.
Does that mean I advocate throwing caution and care to the wind, ignoring my health, doing and eating whatever I want? Absolutely not. I have still benefited immensely from my disciplined life, and it honors God!
Does this mean it doesn’t matter how we raise our kids, that even our best efforts are futile and in vain? Absolutely not. Our children benefit greatly from our efforts to excel as fathers and mothers, to raise them for Christ, and it honors God!
Does this mean it was all in vain to live an upright, godly life of integrity, love and sacrifice? Absolutely not. It enriches our soul, blesses many, brings glory to Christ and honors God!
But in order to keep our sanity, to keep severe disillusionment and overwhelming disappointment from crushing our soul, from shipwrecking our faith, filling us with unending sorrow, we must realize that our very best efforts will not and cannot insure we are never touched in some deeply personal way by the brokenness of this world.
I’ve come to realize and accept that our lives, our families, and our work will inevitably be in some way or another, marred and scarred by this broken world. My biggest mistake was to believe I could somehow avoid it all from happening to me and mine. My acceptance of this fact of life, has brought great peace to my soul, and rest to my mind.
We must remember above all, that no matter what happens to us or someone we love, we are living our lives to honor God above everything else. Eternity is coming! You and I will then be, absolutely, richly rewarded by God! Only then and there protected forever from the fallen brokenness of this wretched world! Embrace this. Accept this. It will bring you peace of mind, rest of spirit, and the ability to let go, and move on.
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling