As I traveled through Florida, I found myself thinking about my life and the plans God has for me. An awareness of His plans for my life crept over me and I marveled that all that has ever happened to me has been for a purpose.
I've often taken great comfort from Romans 2:17, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it." In times of questions and doubts in my life, I've found hope in these words. To think of receiving a name, known only to me and my Maker, gives me hope that in that very name will be found the full meaning of all that I am and all that I ever have been. Names are endowed by God with power, and I envision the moment of hearing my true name, given me by God, as the very moment when all is unveiled, the curtain is lifted and the wonder that is God's redemptive work in my life becomes revealed in such stunning clarity that my response will be to praise God with tears of joy at the beauty of my redemption. I believe that contained in that name will be all the sorrows and heartache I will surely suffer as a man, transformed into something more glorious than the heavens. It will be a name that will be profoundly intimate, known only to me and my Heavenly Father.
None of us will be named the same. Each name will be as distinct and as beautiful as flakes of snow, of grains of sand, of nebulae. Every child of God has lived a beautiful story of redemption, and as Aslan says in Prince Caspian, "Things can never happen the same way twice." We may believe that our story is similar to another, but we are all unique. And within that individuality lies our very dignity.
Each of us is given the humbling gift of being singularly unique. It is through our uniqueness that we are gifted to reflect God's love to others in ways that no other person in the history of the world has been able to reflect God's love, and in the same way, no other person in the history of the world has been able to receive God's love in the same way that we have. By living, loving others, and receiving God's love in the ways unique to our being, God is glorified.
As I reflected on all of these things throughout my trip, and upon my return home, I have come to understand that each of us has a calling, a calling to love others with the love of Christ that is unique to us, and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in the way that is only possible because we are the voice through which Christ speaks.
I have embraced the truth that I am called to speak this Good News to others who have struggled and suffered with things that I have struggled with and suffered through.
In this year that marks my 39th year, I find my heart burning with the desire to see Christ's love poured out through me just as Christ was called by His Father in this passage from Isaiah 42:
"I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light to the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness."
I long to reflect Christ's light, to be a vehicle for opening eyes that are blind as mine once were, to be a vessel for freeing captives from prison and to release from dungeons those who sit in a darkness I know oh, so well.
Herein lies the beauty of being a prodigal son: helping others get back home. My hope and prayer is that this book will be finished in 2009.