When we’re tempted to look back and think our best days are behind us, God knows better.
Every once in a while, I like to clean out my closets and drawers. Like clockwork, I’ll suddenly be struck with the urge to purge. I will pronounce to myself and anyone in close proximity, This weekend, I’m gonna stay home and get organized. I’m getting rid of stuff!
What inevitably happens, though, is that I will get derailed. I’ll stumble on old photos, trinkets, or loose papers I scribbled journal entries on.
I’ll end up sitting there, surrounded by clutter, and I’ll read and reminisce.
Ah… I sure looked young back then in college. Not a care in the world and wrinkle-free.
Aw, look. There I am, fired up to change the world for Christ. The future looked bright.
Oh, there’s my Jeep. We sure put a lot of mileage on you, didn’t we? Untethered by responsibilities, we drove wherever we wanted to go.
Most of all, I longingly look into my innocent smile. Bright-eyed and bushy tailed, life was wide open.
On a Bad Day
Now, my hands hold more baggage, my heart bears scars, and my soul is no longer a stranger to fears and insecurities.
On a bad day, I can feel like my best was already behind me. I can stare into my daily schedule now, and it can feel quite ordinary. Life didn’t work out the way I expected.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my life now and appreciate everything God has abundantly blessed me with.
Gratitude, however, didn’t keep me from feeling like life had reached an equilibrium. I thought the best I could hope for was to finish well. Persevere and stay the course.
I fell into the trap of thinking (incorrectly) that I was simply an older, not-so-shiny version of the best-of-Bonnie, in my youth.
The Beauty of Our Best Days Ahead
God loved me too much to let me wane and atrophy in ignorance.
He brought my attention to the story of the building of the second temple.
When the people of God built the temple a second time, while under captivity, it was a very modest building compared to famed King Solomon’s Temple.
The city was still in ruins. The walls would not even be rebuilt for years. Some of the old men who had seen the splendor of Solomon’s Temple thought this second temple looked pretty sorry and insignificant (Ezra 3:10-13).
They cried and wailed in sadness and disappointment.
What was God’s response? (Zechariah 9:9-10, Haggai 2:1-9)
“Who despises the day of small things? … (My) hands will also complete it.
… My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!
… I will fill this temple with glory
… The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former.”
Like me, the people got it wrong.
They valued the temple, based on what it looked like, rather than the God who was dwelling in it.
You and I are temples of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19).
God Prefers To Build Low and Humble
Through the life of Jesus, we see that God takes the most modest path in accomplishing His most important and greatest works.
Jesus, Himself, chose the humble, lowly position and came as a servant.
His approach seems foolish to the world. Even to us.
You and I easily get discouraged when we look at our lives and only see small numbers or insignificant scenery.
We look into our bank accounts, our schedules, our health, and our constraints. We don’t see much God can work with.
That’s because we are not seeing through the eyes of faith.
If only we could hear the love in God’s voice, when He sees us downcast at our smallness. What would He say?
I’d like to end my post with the words of Lambert Dolphin, a dear friend and brother in Christ, who has encouraged me countless times:
“Faithfulness in small things is how God grows something of lasting importance.”
Our best days are ahead of us. Why? Because the great God we follow is ahead of us. Nothing too big is impossible for God. More importantly, nothing is too small for Him either.
The beauty of faith isn’t measured by how far you’ve walked on the journey of life; it lies in Who you’ve been walking with.
What do you determine in factoring when you are “at your best”?
When you think about your future, what words come mind?
Pull up a chair. Click to share a comment.
For more words of encouragement, order a copy of my book Finding Spiritual Whitespace.
Beloved Brews Spotlights
Every week, I’ll spotlight a tagged #SpiritualWhitespace image from Instagram (like the beautiful one to the right) or blogger in our Beloved Brews Community. To be considered as a spotlight blogger, please kindly be sure to use the Beloved Brew badge or link back to Faith Barista in your post. Kindreds, I can’t wait to see your photos & read the stories you live. Thank you for sharing your voice.
Tripping Through Faith shares with us this week:
“I tend to want God to follow me. But… I want to quit putting God in a box, quit shoving him in a hole that I want it to fit in, because it’s a nice, neat plan to how I want my life to go. I’m a perfectionist and a planner…I’m learning that’s who I’ve been and that’s not okay. If I truly really, want to be okay with whatever happens in my life, whatever it is my son chooses… It boils down to how much do I trust God.”
Beloved Brews Link Up
Whole-hearted Writing. You & Jesus.
Welcome to our Beloved Brews weekly link-up! Pour out a little love with your words every Thursday (publish any day. link-up on Thursdays). Simply write a blog post about what God’s sharing with your heart this week and then share it here. Don’t have a blog? Just share a comment. Visit thebonniegray.com to read the comments & share your voice too.
Next week’s 7/23 writing prompt: (what is God sharing with your heart?)
Please use the Beloved Brews button in your blog post so we’ll know you’re in our community & others can join (use this html code here). When you link up your post, read & leave an encouraging comment on the post linked up just before yours. Thanks, kindreds!
Share photos that touch your heart with God’s beauty and rest using #spiritualwhitespace on Instagram. It’ll be fun to see your pics!
May the writing prompt bring you to a quiet place in your soul as you share your voice. Click here for details.
Beautiful & encouraging post. So much truth in one writing. Thank you for these words >”The beauty of faith isn’t measured by how far you’ve walked on the journey of life; it lies in Who you’ve been walking with.” Grateful to have read your words this morning!
thanks for sharing some soul time together, Joanne!
Wow, I’m totally honored that you put my site in the member spotlight this week and that it went right along with what you are saying. Thanks!
I find that when I am the most disgruntled, if I will back up and see that it’s not about me than I am more apt to refocus. Thanks for the reminder today.
your words are soul-beautiful april! thank you for sharing with us at beloved brews.
Me at my best is physically strong, clear of mind and my thinking is right with the spirit. I have a feeling of whimsy in my heart. Then my husband who says he’s realist but in truth he is the very definition of pessimism and bleats doom, hopelessness, our life is rotten, I hate my house, I hate my life, the kids aren’t perfect, we don’t do anything, I’m tired and on and on. This is my future, the best to come is in the Lord’s mighty hands so despite what I just wrote, the whimsy in me says it’s all good and though I may not see what it will look like now God still is working in me to make good things happen. I better brace myself☺️ Amen!
sherry thank you for sharing here.. i hope that you will hold onto your whimsy!
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What a sweet read this morning. It’s easy to have that tape playing in your mind that nothing is too big for God, but you’re right, we don’t really consider enough that nothing is too small for Him either. One of the verses that I keep on my desk is near one of the verses that you referenced: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” (Zech. 4:10) Thanks for sharing this peaceful post this morning, Bonnie. 🙂
yes! i love the truth in that verse. it’s beautiful.
I’m thankful God is in the small things too. Today I’m cleaning out email folders. Such a small task, yet quite overwhelming to me! I love knowing that our best days are yet ahead. Thanks for the encouragement, Bonnie.
Those verses about His glory shining far more brightly in the new temple were powerful, my friend! I had a huge aha moment, even before you pointed out that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit! Indeed, His glory can shine so brightly through us. What a huge encouragement!
Blessings and hugs,
your words are such an encouragement! thank you.
God’s ability to reveal his insight is one we have to see with our spiritual eyes; our natural eyes will always fail us to see the obvious. The word of God is so powerful to allow us to know his heart and what He intends to do for us. But our faith as little as a mustard seed must learn to trust & believe and walk by faith that is inspired by the Holy Spirit our comforter sent to do the impossible in our lives!
I have been on a holding pattern in my life waiting on God to move us on but He has chosen to have us wait and learn patience, kindness to others, just being still in His Presence. It has not be pretty at times when i chose to have a pity party hoping God will rescue me from myself, but He is faithful to send His comforter to do just that Comfort Me and lead me forward to that perfect time he will release us to go East toward our loved ones…
I wonder, when I think about my best days laying ahead of me, if I am up to the challenge, if I am prepared to abide and allow God to complete His work withing me at His will. We are an impatient people, we want what we want when we want it. God spent many years preparing Samuel and David, John the Baptist and Paul, just to name a few. Are we willing to wait on Him?
I wonder if we would be willing to spend our lives as a dishwasher in a monastery,as brother John did, so that the Father could teach us to be a contemplative. Could we be Anna or Simeon, spending their lives into old age waiting for the promise to come to them in the form of an infant whose life would be dedicated to saving the world from sin.
Most of us want to do something monumental like the mighty men and women of God, but are we not doing something just as important by feeding the hungry and the sick? Are we not learning on our faith journey by teaching those who are hungry for God? Is not our faith built on the small things as well as the mighty things? Even our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ fed the hungry whether it be hunger of the body or hunger of the spirit. Can we do no less?
When Paul planted all of those churches during his ministry, did he not have to leave faithful people in charge when he was gone? Was their work any less important than Paul’s?
I have struggled with this for the past few years since we came to a new church in which I strive to find a place for the talents God has given me. While He works on that, I have fed so many people in our church who are ill. I especially choose to work with those who have severe illnesses, such as cancer. It has brought me into contact with so many hurting people. I am so blessed by this ministry. It is a quiet, behind the scenes ministry with no accolades but it more of a blessing to me than I can tell you.
We cannot know in the moment where God will lead us but we can know that He will prepare us for where we are headed. God loves us completely and whats us to flourish. If we will let Him work in us, our best days are yet to come.
Thank you, Bonnie, for the expresso-shot of encouragement to press on, because the best is yet to come! Love that Lambert Dolphin quote, too. So glad you included his wisdom (with yours)!
the quote, “the beauty of faith isn’t measured by how far you’ve walked on the journey on life, it lies in WHO you’ve been walking with”, is a keeper Bonnie. I love it and going to use it every chance I get for it breaks “our faith walk” to a “whom” and not a what. Beautiful.
i’m so touched the words spoke to your heart, betty. #soulbeautiful
I have purge days too! Sorting through pictures, cards, trinkets and instead of getting it purged I take trips down memory lane. Yesterday always seems like better times but it’s comforting to read your words. What God has prepared for us that’s yet to come is going to be beautiful and awesome and maybe a little bit harder at times. I feel blessed to know we’re walking this journey together as kindreds!
This is beautiful and so timely. I’ve been stuck in the past, thinking that there is not much left for me moving forward. So many dreams have died. But, I do believe God desires to resurrect hope and faith in me that my best days are indeed ahead.
I identified so much with everything you wrote in this post and I so needed to hear what you had to say today. It’s been a great source of encouragement. Thank you for sharing this timely word.