For this month’s Inspired by Song! contest, which runs for a few more days, we challenged our ActiveRain friends to write on the topic of a personal theme song. This is my own post on this topic, although I am not eligible to win, since I am a judge.
At the risk of alienating some of my readers, and perhaps even some of my friends here on AR, I want to share some of the details of my faith in God with you. If you know me or read my blog regularly, you will not be surprised by that part. However, there are some personal details revealed here that will simply make some people uncomfortable, and for that I apologize in advance.
Over the past few months, I watched with pain in my heart as one of very best friends, David Wilder, died of throat and neck cancer. Even before David was ill, I could have pointed to him as one of my spiritual mentors. After he was diagnosed, I watched my friend battle against the illness that would eventually take him from us.
In his death, David had an even more profound impact on me. He taught me how to live as a follower of Jesus, then, later, he taught me how to die with grace. To some of you, the next sentence may seem strange; to others, it will make perfect sense. Watching David in his final days on earth and coping with the aftermath actually made me fear death less. It also made me start to question what I was doing with my life with regard to affecting others tangibly within the church and in the world at large. I am going to help with a new church that we are starting in the fall, and I hope to reach many lives with the gospel of Jesus Christ. If this phrase is foreign to you, the gospel can be explained somewhat quickly by reading John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Some of you may recall seeing the guy in the rainbow afro wig at sporting events in the 1970’s holding up the “John 3:16” signs. He was doing his part to spread the Word. I don’t have a rainbow afro wig (yet), but I feel that it is my responsibility to share this, too.
Years ago, I used to be consumed with fears of death, and my wife (who was my girlfriend then) was able to lead me to Jesus. I was open to this, and the Lord was able to remove this fear that night, but it would still re-surface from time to time, usually in the middle of the night, when I was at my most vulnerable. A few years ago, I yielded my life to God completely and told Him that I now understood that no matter what happened, I would be content in knowing that He was with me. Since then, my fears of the unknown have vanished.
Through my life, I have dealt with my share of challenges, including my parents’ divorce when I was about two, to an abusive stepfather, to my own struggles with mental illness in my early 20’s, and more.
My wife wrote something on her blog recently that is probably the nicest compliment I have ever received:
“When I met Jason, I had a vision of the man he could become. He is now that man.”
For those of you who don’t believe that she wrote this, feel free to call me and you can speak with her on the phone to confirm it. 🙂 But seriously, kinder words were never spoken.
The point of telling you this is that I did not become the man I am today by myself. God has shaped me over the past 17 years (since I really met Him for the first time). I obviously still have issues that I am working on. My temper is too quick sometimes, I lust after the wrong things, I worry too much, and so on. However, I am improving with God’s help.
The song I have chosen for this post is Casting Crowns “And Now My Lifesong Sings”. The lyrics pretty much sum up the changes that have occurred in my life since I became a Christian. I was lost and floundering with a very selfish focus back in 1991. I had little true hope in my life, despite outward appearances. I was blind to the goodness around me. Although I seemed happy, my heart felt flat and dead inside back then. My priorities were far different.
Now, I have a deep and abiding joy in my heart because of my faith, despite some of the recent challenges I have had, including:
- Caring for my mother-in-law in our home full-time starting last fall
- Losing my friend to cancer in March
- Losing another friend to suicide this past month
This song pretty much sums up my feelings. I hope you will take 4 minutes and 4 seconds out of your busy day to check it out. If you have any questions, let me know. I have no doubt that someone will feel that this is not appropriate to post here, and I understand. Believe me, I wouldn’t share it if I didn’t think it was important.