Today begins my 55th journey around the sun. By all accounts I ought to be in the grip of a midlife crisis. Children are leaving the nest. More hairs are abandoning their posts as the battle is lost. My “career” and my reputation were blown away when I blew into a breathalyzer more than two and a half years ago. Now the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think RCJr. is DUI. By God’s grace, because of God’s grace, however, I’m in the grip of gratitude.
I could focus on the sundry people who seem to enjoy destroying my reputation through slander, gossip and lies. Instead I get to focus on the One who knows me perfectly, who gave me His reputation with His heavenly Father. I have peace with the living God. He has made me His son. And He who has never broken a promise has promised me an eternity of bliss.
I could focus on what I don’t get to do any more- to travel the world telling people about Jesus. Instead I get to focus on the blessing of being at home. I don’t get to speak from my own pulpit, but I do get to sit in my own pew and hear as the gospel is faithfully preached by my pastors at Pine Hills Church.
I could focus on my loss of relationship with the best and the brightest of the evangelical world, those who are embarrassed by me. Instead I get to focus on my growing relationships with those who, like me, have experienced not just the scandal of grace, but the grace of scandal, whose public sin makes pretending a farce, who are open and unashamed before their Redeemer. We get to focus on our growing relationship with the One who is not embarrassed by us.
The truth is that I don’t have to bootstrap my way to gratitude. I’m not hiding in a corner licking my wounds. I wake up every morning grateful for my salvation, and grateful for the greatest earthly gift I’ve ever been given, my wife, Lisa. We have been up just over an hour. In that time she has prayed over me a prayer that brought me to tears. She has blessed each of the children we still have with us. She has begun preparations for a meal that would make a king envious. No, that would make other king’s envious. For she is my queen. She has spoken words of life and encouragement into me, labored diligently, made me laugh, given direction and insight.
A few weeks ago she received blessing and encouragement from an unexpected source. Our son Reilly, 13 years old, took his mom’s hand in his and said, “Mom, I really want to thank you. You are making me a better person. You are making my dad a better man, and a better dad.” He’s right, that son of ours. And I, I am grateful for the grace of God, a living stream of soul satisfying water that flows through Lisa Sproul, my beloved. Happy birthday to me.