Our lives are full of dates which mark anniversaries of significant events that in one form or another impacted our lives. Some of the anniversaries are pleasant to remember for they mark an occasion that produced great joy or fulfillment. Some of the anniversaries are sad for they are date someone close to us died or left our lives. Some of these dates make us laugh and some make us cry. Then there are those dates that are most significant, for they truly changed our lives.
Within my lifetime, there are numerous dates in this month of August which fit all the categories listed above. The greatest day of my life took place on August 24th when God stepped into my life and transformed me from a shy and introverted 16 year old kid into an outgoing witnessing machine to His glory and love. Due to the calendar of when the ministry I served in held its biggest events each year, August is full of dates when I was able to present the Word of God to thousands of people and coordinate functions that involved a staff of hundreds.
Truly, in my life, there is no month which contains more highs and lows than August. There are dates which at the time I thought were spectacular blessings, but over the years I have come to learn were huge mistakes. There are dates which at the time I thought were horrible mistakes, but since then I have come to understand were simply steps in the learning and growing process.
Far too many times in our lives, we look at what is happening and decide right then and there the significance of the event. We tend, because of our tunnel vision, to think thing that happens to us or that we are a part of is the most earth shattering thing that ever happened. Hmmm, doesn't this describe the typical teenage "drama queen"?
As we get older, we come to find out that many of the things that we once thought were historic were really insignificant. We also come to find out that many things we brushed aside as trivial were in reality life changing events. Time has a way of both mellowing things as well as putting them in the right perspective. That is why I have come to learn to never make final judgment of an event in my life at the moment it happens, but rather wait awhile and see how it fits in the overall scheme of my life.
We say many times that we trust God with our lives, but then we turn around and doubt what happens. We say that we are willing to let God lead and direct us, but then we scream and throw a tantrum when we end up somewhere we don't want to be. We claim that we are committed to whatever God has in store for us, but then when we don't like it, we high tail it in the opposite direction.
The other day marked the 25th anniversary of what I know in my heart was the point I hit rock bottom spiritually. At the time, I had no idea the foolishness I was doing would end up being so significant. At the time, I was totally incapable of seeing the full repercussions and consequences of my stupidity. Just as David could not comprehend the extent of his transgression as he ordered Uriah killed, so I could not grasp the immensity of what I was doing that day long ago.
If Nathan the prophet would not have had the courage to confront King David with his transgression, he would have conceivably lived the rest of his life thinking it was allowable, only to find out it cost him an eternity with God. But, because the man of God did his job and refused to be intimidated by David, but rather told him exactly what he had done, due to David's heart being right with God, he repented and the rest is history.
No "man of God" ever confronted me for what I did and didn't do August 13th, 1985. But, within a year of that date I knew full well what I had done and it provided the impetus for me to finally confront the error in my thinking and the sin in my life. Once I repented of all that I had allowed myself to fall into and do, God could begin the rebuilding process that is continuing unto this very hour. Truly, looking back, that date 25 years ago is of far greater significance in my personal life than I could have ever known at the time.
Many of us have secret anniversaries in our lives of events we know good and well were not right or were out and out blatant sin. Many of us have tended to put those events in a box and shove them into a closet and hope we never see them again. Unfortunately such things have a way of popping out of that closet when we least expect or want them to. That is why we must strive to not hide the past but honestly deal with it before God and then move on the way David did in Psalms 51:
"Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
New King James Version