Part 12 of a 12 part devotion of Psalm 30
I had a friend confide in me one time that they were convinced that I would never be a good teacher or make it far in my present career. When I pressed for a reason, I was told that because I never seem to be able to give a straight answer. I do admit, upon reflection, that this is true,
I don’t do it to avoid anything, like a politician, or deliberately tell lies to further myself. I just have the annoying habit of usually answering a question with a question. For example, when I am asked where I went to college, I usually respond with “Which Time?” I went to college four times, a year at UW Whitewater studying Business, a four-year Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education at UW Milwaukee, A two-year Certification program for my Special Education license (also at UWM), and a Masters degree from Concordia University.
One question that has been coming up lately has really got me thinking and has created an unusual response from me.
The question? “How old are you?” Lately, my response has been “Which part?”
Several years ago during a Doctor’s visit, I was told that my body, due to Cerebral Palsy, showed characteristics of a body of at least a decade older than my chronological age. I was also told that the ratio between was exponential. Roughly put, every trip around the sun for me was the equivalent of fifteen months for my body. Being that I am 55 years old, that would mean that I move like a 68-year-old man. This means that when I finally get to retire at age 65, my body will be the equivalent to that of an 81-year-old man.
That being said, my mind is totally at a different age as well. Because of my past, sometimes my mind is that of an eight-year-old boy. I am obsessed with pleasing those around me and go into great despair if anyone in my life shows signs of the slightest disappointment in my thoughts, words, or actions. I shine when I am praised and cower in fear when I am reprimanded. I am convinced that every mistake I make will have dire consequences, such as being fired or someone leaving me behind. I crave attention and the spotlight.
But there is another part of me that is much older than my body could ever be! In verse 12 of Psalm 30, David concludes his Psalm with “that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”
When I read King David’s psalm for the first time, shortly after I became a Christian, I admit the verse was very confusing, especially the phrase “My Glory”. I was bothered about that, knowing in my first steps toward embracing the God of the Universe was that He was the only being worthy of glory, which is defined as magnificence or great beauty. I knew I had no magnificence or great beauty.
(When a student states that I am ugly)
Sorry, that is not my fault. My Daddy was ugly and his Daddy was ugly and his Daddy was ugly! I am a fourth-generation ugly!Palzewism #5
But, reading other translations helped me put the term into something easier to understand. English Standard Version (ESV) uses the phrase “My Glory”. The New International Version (NIV) translates the phrase as “My Heart”. But I really understood it when I saw the words from the Revised Standard Version (RSV), which simply uses “My Soul”.
Soul! That is an interesting concept that has been around since people started thinking and writing. Ancient people’s realized that there was something inside a person that made them different, set apart from others, even in their own families. Your soul is basically that thing that makes you, well YOU!
I like to joke around with my students a lot in my classes. One of the silly things I do is when I ask for volunteers. The conversation usually goes something like this
“Who wants to read?”
“Me”, a student answers raising their hand
“You’re not ME, I’m ME, You’re YOU!” I respond.
The soul holds a special part in many religions, including Christianity. It is believed by many that your soul existed long before you took your first crying breath from birth and will continue on long past your dying one. Your soul is eternal, created by God, and will never be extinguished. You will physically change, growing through all the stages of life until you simply stop being alive one day. Your ability to breathe will cease and your thoughts will stop communicating with your body. Your physical body will expire one day but your soul is eternal.
And since your soul is eternal, it makes sense that David indicates that the soul is the part of his being that he will use to praise God. David knows, like the rest of us is that our bodies will give out and our minds may deteriorate as well, but our soul will never change! He also declares that his praise that he offers up today is not just for the things that God has done in his life that day. Davids exclaims that his praise, directed to God alone, is not only for the now part of his life, as well as all God’s interventions in the past as well as his future until the day he is called home to be in the presence of God Almighty.
The main reason he gives praise is that David (and us) know our final destination. Everything that life can and will throw at us is a mere hiccup compared to the eternity that we will have with our Creator.
I have often said that being a Christian is like watching a James Bond movie. No matter how bad it gets for Bond, we know that at the end of the movie, our hero will have both saved the entire world and gotten the girl! We, as Christians, have the same assurances. We know that life can be scary, ugly, hurtful, and just plain evil. Still, we also know that our God is stronger than all of that, and one day, He will call us home, wipe away every tear and set our souls free from all the worry, doubt and grief that we have built up over this lifetime. Freed from our burdens, we will finally be able to accept him for who he is – God, Our Father!
So, how old am I? No matter how I count the years on earth, God simply states in 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
God is not worried about time, or age, or any other man-made construct we have created to mark our time between the cradle and the grave. God uses two marks to define us, OLD and NEW. And, unlike our slow march to death that every human being must endure, God’s timeline only focuses on two events, OLD and NEW.
The OLD is when we are born, sinful and broken. Under the curse of original sin, we have no chance to escape our fate on our own. We are stuck and will continue to be that way until someone intervenes.
That intervention can only come from outside ourselves. Once saved, we are NEW, different, and unique. We have been given the express pass, the golden ticket, and the keys to the city all at once. Once enemies, we are now adopted children, loved now, and awarded a great inheritance!
One of my favorite Contemporary Christian Singers is Steven Curtis Chapman. His lyrics are powerful and his melodies are catchy and clever. I heard him on an interview once and I was simply amazed. When he was asked, “When did you become a Christian?” His answer was simply and profoundly, “Today”. He went on to elaborate that every day, in every situation, he has to choose to act in a way that will show others around him the love of Jesus. He could not do anything and still get to heaven because of what he believes but he knows that, because of Jesus commands of loving God with your whole soul and loving your neighbors as yourself, he has to make a conscious effort to share to anyone listening of the power of the cross and how that can change your life as well. Our actions are not some sort of exchange for a future reward but more an expression of gratitude for what has been done for us!
So, to finally answer the question, I am 55 years old going on forever!
Prayer: Dear Jesus! Thank you for giving me a soul and securing a spot for me for all eternity. May I make it my mission each and every day to share what you have done for me. Amen!
I thank you for reading my blog and look forward to any comments or criticism of what I have discussed.
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“You Turned My Mourning Into Dancing!”, my book, is available for purchase here.