As I stood on the deck of a mountain lodge a couple of weeks ago, music made its way from the living room inside through the open windows. I considered the lyrics as they were framed by the backdrop of the majesty presented by the mountains. The dots connected and the lyrics came to life for me more so than they had previously.
I love the mountains and was spending yet another week in this incredible place getting to be a part of a marriage ministry that had tremendous meaning and fruit. The fact that I was entrusted with the hearts of people as Julie and I ministered in that setting is nothing short of miraculous if you consider where I came from.
When I had enough and finally turned my life over to the Lord, it was on the backside of years of depravity. I had increasingly stepped into drunken selfishness and was losing the vitality of life in the hangover of shallow living. Prompted by the death of my cousin to consider our existence beyond the limits of a party, the Lord spoke to me through a verse. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11.
When I read that for the first time, it was as if it was written directly to my soul. I wanted hope and a future and didn’t see it from the limitations I had increasingly built around my view. I knew more than ever as I read that verse in my living room with my boxer, Tank, that the plans God had for me were better than the story I was dictating.
I met Jesus there in my little living room with Tank and everything changed. I knew what grace was as if He would meet me and change me and begin to fulfill His promises of hope and a future in me after where I had been, then this grace was better than the sound of the word.
Since then, He’s been doing it. He’s been fulfilling better plans for me than I could have ever dreamed. There is no question of God’s goodness or His faithfulness in the life that I have given Him. His plan started within months of my surrender when Julie and I got married and she and I have lived this promise out together. He’s doing it in her, too.
The song on the deck that day in Colorado that prompted the perspective in that snapshot of time was simple, “You’re a good, good father, it’s Who You are, it’s Who You are, and I’m loved by You.”