It Will Be Here

Thirty-Seven? What does that even mean? Two prime numbers, side by side—what would Augustine have to say about their significance? I think I’ve figured out the conundrum to all those brain-creaking word problems in math. As soon as you hear, “If a train leaves Station A, traveling at 60 miles and hour on a 273 mile track…” I’m pretty sure the answer is 37. Just trust me on this one. The word problem is as convoluted as the age. Did I mention I just celebrated my 37th birthday? This is the age where you officially begin your farewell to the thirties. My thirties have been pretty awesome. I feel like I’ve been on a beautiful hike, lost in rapturous conversation with a friend, only to discover that I’ve been too engrossed in the moment to notice I lost my keys to the car somewhere along the path. What the heck happened to my youth? Since my birthday falls right smack in the Thanksgiving festivities, I get to celebrate in Deep Creek, Maryland with my extended family. Our four families load up the cars for a four-day weekend together. On the ride up I couldn’t help but think of the dreaded 37 that was looming. Meanwhile, the kids were arguing with me about my choice of music.  When Fleetwood Mac came on, I knew I wasn’t going to change the dial for nothin’. The song totally changed my mind about 37. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow! Lately, I’ve been seriously reflecting on Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” We have been continuously returning to this verse in our women’s study on Hebrews, as the rest of the epistle/sermon further expounds on it. I’ve been seriously reflecting on this exhortation as it applies to suffering and perseverance. It also pertains to ordinary, everyday life. Today, I especially see how applicable it is to aging. After all, I’m not only on a hike; I’m running a marathon (Heb. 12:1-2). My friend Sarah wrote something to me that I recognized as a lesson God has slowly been teaching me: The gospel is far more radical than I ever could have imagined. By God’s grace, I have lost my keys. I’m not going back to the car.  Yesterday’s gone. I need to lay aside that weight, as it only slows me down. God’s promises in Christ give us a sure hope to look ahead in our Christian life of faith and obedience. While I don’t know what time my train will arrive, and I certainly don’t know how many miles an hour I am going, I am told to run patiently the race set before me.  Doesn’t that sound oxymoronic? I’m indubitably patient about making it to station 40, but nonetheless, I seem to be impatient with my own spiritual maturity. If I don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, I can keep running. I can do this because I know that it is God who is faithful. And I am confident of this very thing because of yesterday, when Christ said, “It is finished.” Done. Sure. Free to look ahead. They say 40 is the new 20. I hope not, because I was pretty dumb at 20. I hope to have come a significant way by this small milestone.  But the radical grace that God is revealing excites me to persevere. And I am so thankful for the fitness of Christ who is the author and finisher of our faith.