A 40th Birthday!
Today, 12th May 2014 is my 40th birthday. Was that a disbelieving look I saw in your eyes? And didn’t your eyebrows shoot up in surprise? I saw that! You are right! Let me hasten to explain. I passed the 40 year mark many moons ago. I am no spring chicken. I am in fact proud of it. (But that’s another story) But yes, today is definitely my 40th b’day. It is the 40th birthday of the best decision I ever made. The beginning of a unique journey that has brought me love, hope, joy, faith.....and lots besides. Would you like to hear more?
Many light years ago when I was a young lass living in Sri Lanka, my parents sent me on a Youth for Christ Camp. I assumed then that I’d just while away part of my holidays and enjoy a bit of fun. I didn’t know that it would turn out to be a life-changer. Oh yes, camp was fun. Lots of fun. But it was also far more than that. I discovered there, a love that was compelling – inexplicable – powerful – precious. The other young people at the camp had something I didn’t possess. I wanted it. I’d been brought up in a Christian home. I’d attended church all my life.
And yet… why was I not as excited about Jesus as they were?
What was it about them that made me feel loved in a unique and glorious way?
After a few weeks of pondering over the conundrum, a month later, on the 12th of May 1974, I knelt down in the quietness of my bedroom. I told God that I had believed He was in my life but confessed I’d been wrong. I asked Him to forgive me all my sins. I invited Him to be my Lord and Saviour. There were no fireworks then. No wondrous feelings. No sudden change in my life. But over the next two years, I began to slowly but surely understand what it meant to know and follow Jesus. I became a Disciple of Jesus.
Thereafter flowed 12 fruitful joyful busy years being part of the family of Youth for Christ. That impressionable season in my girlhood gave me a strong, stable foundation for my Christian life. The teaching I received at YFC has blessed me all my life, so I’m deeply grateful to YFC for that solid start in my walk with Jesus. Especially life-giving were the many awesome relationships I made in YFC. Those deep friendships have lasted to this day – 40 years on. They have been a gleaming fabric in my life –a gold thread running through a stunning outfit ablaze in myriad colours.
Recently I have been looking for a place where I could connect with fellow believers. Once again, I have been embraced warmly in Christian Fellowship. The kindness and love I have experienced now reminds of the love that welcomed me 40 long years ago. Because of course the love of Jesus is an unchanging factor in the world. The unfortunate truth about life is that it is a state of constant flux. Life changes. All the time. Mental health experts tell us that our mental health is as good as our ability to adapt to life's changes.
But a thrilling reality abounds. In a world that changes quickly and relentlessly, I have found a love that remains. A love that never fails. It is the love of Jesus. It is a love that I have turned to time and time again and never found wanting. His love has been a soft cushion to fall on when life was difficult. His love has celebrated with me as I rejoiced through good times. His love has held me up when I had no strength to stand. His love has brought richness and joy into my life as nothing else has ever done.
What then are the highlights of these 40 years?
1. The Love of Jesus – it’s as sure as the dawn
2. The Faithfulness of an amazing God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit
3. A precious Family of God – who have richly blessed me over the years
4. A Hope to cling onto through every season
5. The Joy of the Lord – my song and my strength
Life is unpredictable. Sad times befall me. Tough decisions come my way. Sickness knocks me over. Life changes. My body creaks. Surprises spring on me unasked like a wild cheetah leaping on its prey. I wonder where Life’s Manual is and why life doesn’t follow the script. But you know what? Celebrations are in order. Praise is high on my ‘To do’ list today. Yes, it’s time to dance and sing and throw caution to the winds.
It’s my 40th birthday!
I testify today to the faithfulness of a God who never ever gives up on me. Not when I fall. Not when I fail. Not when I sin. Not even when I turn my back on Him. His love continues through all generations. It walked into my life 40 years ago and turned me right side up. It has been the best thing in my life these past four decades.
I turn life’s pages, looking back with a smile.
“Thank you Father” I whisper. “I love you so.”
I find His warm Daddy smile beaming down on me.
“I love you too Nushi” He whispers back, embracing me in a Father’s tender hug.
Life is good. Very good! Let the celebrations begin.
"You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever."