One Life To Live

Dear Friends,

I was recently reflecting on my life and thinking about what I had done with what God had given me. During the 1960’s I was in my mid twenties, going to college in San Francisco and living on a sailboat in Sausalito, CA. I was in a good place in my life. I had recently finished my four-year commitment with the Air Force, was living in a beautiful part of California and had my whole life ahead of me. The future looked good. I had asked Jesus to come into my life at the young age of 12. When I was growing up the church my family attended was what we referred to as “hell fire and brimstone” preaching that scared me into getting saved because I didn’t want to end up in hell. Though I had accepted Jesus into my life as a young boy it was now 12 years later and my walk with the Lord was somewhat shaky. Much of how I was living during this time was not honoring to Him.

There was a point when I began to question if God was even there, much less interested in my life. I found it hard to reconcile my faith with what was going on around me during those turbulent 60’s. I was living in the San Francisco bay area in the midst of the peace and love hippie generation. There were protests regarding the Vietnam War, there was a strong anti-establishment movement, and we had just witnessed the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

During this period of my life I began to write poetry. I had a somewhat jaded view of life so much of the poetry I was writing was a reflection of what was going on around me. Never in my journey I had ever considered being in full-time ministry. My goal was to get a good job, make lots of money and enjoy all that went along with that. It is now 60 years later and I was reading over some of the poetry I had written during that time. This one poem surprised me because what I had written during that time was certainly not a reflection of what I wanted to do with my life. It’s called “One Life To Live”.

One Life To Live
For what I want that pleases me
If I wallow in that deceiving mire
Of worldly pleasure and desire
I fear there waits consuming fire
To punish me and my desire

Two roads to take which shall it be
The one that pleases only me
One’s long and wide and can be fun
But what about when it is done
Does there only wait the fire of hell
At the end of a road that’s built so well

The other road is rough and narrow
Why should I go that way
There’s so much work and sorrow
I’ll have to learn to pray

But then I think why shouldn’t I
At least there is a reason
For life and love and clear blue sky
That makes me laugh and makes me cry

Now that I know what I’m to do
I’ve got to go and get it through
‘cause when they lay me ‘neath
the sod
They’ll know I’ve lived my life for God

When I read over this poem I’d written when in my mid 20’s it seems to me that subconsciously I was already deciding as a young man to live a life that would be honoring to God. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time God was preparing me for a life devoted to full-time ministry. I found this experience stunning in that God in his loving providence let me do what I wanted with my life until I reached a point where I was not satisfied with what I was experiencing as a result of my choices. What initially drew me toward ministry was that my wife and I were helping with the college youth at our church and I was finding that much more fulfilling than my work.

Have you thought about your life and how much God’s hand has directed decisions you’ve made and steps you’ve taken? It’s fascinating to think back and reflect on how God has directed, provided and protected each of us. Try it, you may be surprised at what you learn about your one life.

God bless,


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