3 Thoughts for Believers in the Aftermath of an Election

Democracy. Amiright?!

 

Now, while I don’t think that I should altogether make light of a political outcome, like many of you, I’m trying to figure out how to wrap my mind around what just happened in our country. For some, it was a victory against the “establishment.” For others, it was a blow to the morale of the marginalized. I’m not here to weigh in on political minutia, and I’m not going to pretend like I understand all of the perspectives at play. My aim is to share my heart and find a way where we as a body of believers can move forward in reconciliation. Here are a few preliminary thoughts in the aftermath of last night:

 

  1. You don’t know what you don’t know.

The older I get, the dumber I realize I am. There’s a LOT I don’t understand, and while I tried to be as prayerful and thoughtful as I could be with my vote, I know that I was unable to recognize all of the different ideologies in this election. That’s not lost on me, and chances are that it’s not lost on you either. Our system is messy and multifaceted, much like us; and with that, we’re never going to get it totally right. Even if we understand that voting for a candidate isn’t an endorsement, it still gets sticky when we navigate difficult decisions. In most of my conversations with believers, there was a conviction to vote in a God-honoring way. I heard out many who had a desire to champion the rights of the oppressed, preserve the liberties promised to us, as well as steward the resources credited to our nation. The flaw of two-parties (or any system for that matter) is that we’re always going to find that the heart of God does not fit on a straight ticket. It’s not sinful to vote Democrat, it’s not sinful to vote Republican, and it’s not sinful to vote otherwise. Our Lord doesn’t share our party loyalties, and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with politics and having affiliations, neither should we. How can we demonize each other when we share the same inheritance in Christ (Ephesians 1:11-14)? We need grace for each other, because Lord knows we need grace ourselves.

 

  1. Compassion goes much further than comparison.

I believe that there are wise people on both sides, and I believe that mindfulness is a bipartisan value; but more than that, I believe that Jesus has called us to a greater sense of empathy. People are hurting, and what may seem like a protection of morality for some is a terrifying and alienating outcome for others. Many feel like they defended constitutional values, but many are fearful that theirs will be taken away. If you voted for the Donald, be mindful that families are feeling a sense of terror you may not recognize. Scripturally speaking, Galatians compels us to assume their burdens (6:1-10). Just because someone’s heart is breaking, doesn’t mean it’s an indictment of your vote; but if you fail to help carry that weight, then it’s absolutely and indictment of your faith, considering the hope to which we’ve been called (Ephesians 4:1-7). If you were for Hillz, know that not everyone who voted for the alternative is antagonistic. A lot of kind and loving Christians found themselves trapped in discerning what exactly to “render to Caesar.” With that, they are still brothers and sisters bought by the same precious blood of Jesus. Ephesians 4:32 says it best: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” I think that part of the beauty of Heaven is that nobody will be running around with reprimand or judgment when we realize just how much we ALL missed the mark.  The Cross proves that there is far more that binds us than could ever pull us apart. My goodness, do I need this reminder.

 

  1. We serve a greater King.

The reality is that Trump has been elected to a role that deserves respect, and he will now possess the highest title in the land. As a believer you would do well to recognize his governance; however, make no mistake that he and all who have gone before him are still nothing compared to the glory of the Lord. While he may stand at the zenith of western accomplishment, he is just another servant who will bow before the authority of God’s providence (Jeremiah 27:6 and Daniel 4:35). Family, the sovereignty and majesty of Jesus has never been in jeopardy (Daniel 2:44-45). As citizens of this land, let Romans 12 be your guide, but as children of Heaven, let Revelation 21 be your hope. We worship a God who was, is, and will always remain on His throne. What I love most about this truth, is that the Lord is a loving Father who deeply cares for His people. His heart has been wrung out far more than you and I will ever know, and His love holds ours intact. Let the sacrifice of Jesus remind you that God has withheld nothing from us because He is for us. This spendthrift of a King will come again to restore all of our political and sociological fractures, and He will not be stifled by some trite election cycle or silly and ideological rhetoric; because who can stand before the Champion and Creator of the universe and tell Him what He is owed?

 

 

I know that this post isn’t going to magically start the process of healing, and I know that we all still have difficult conversations coming our way; but I hope that in prayer we can start moving forward knowing Jesus is already way ahead of us. Let’s be a mindful and gracious people who know that we serve a greater God and carry a greater promise of hope. This election is not a triumph nor is it condemnation, it’s just a small part of a greater story where Jesus is King, and we are saved.

 

Love y’all.

 

Sean

To All of My Black Friends: I’m Sorry and I Love You.

To all of my black friends,

 

I’m not going to offer an unwarranted opinion, and I’m not going to try to provide feeble insight into the tragedies that have transpired these past few days. This week, like anyone else, I watched footage of two black men unjustifiably being killed in cold blood, and for the life of me I can’t make sense of it; and like anyone else, I saw the reports of assassinated Dallas police officers, and I can’t make sense of that either. And if I’m being completely honest, I feel completely useless considering how I’m not postured to identify with those who’ve been racially persecuted, or with those who have put their lives on the line continually. But my heart does break, because this is not what the Lord intended.

 

Now, I have nothing but respect for the men and women who put on a uniform to protect and serve, and who do what’s right on a daily basis. I could never repay that sacrifice, and my heart breaks for those families. But today, this post is addressed specifically to all of you, my black friends, as the Lord is beginning to open my eyes to injustices that I have been ignoring. It’s long overdue that I apologized.

 

I’m sorry.

 

I’m sorry that I have been ignorant. Injustice has been decimating our country for a lot longer than this week. On Monday I celebrated the 4th of July not even considering how hard that day is for so many of the people I love. Because, as much as I would like to believe that this country, or families not unlike my own, were self-made by people who rolled up their sleeves and wiped the sweat from their brows, the sad reality is that there were enslaved men and women who did that for them; and it makes me sick. The truth is that I am a product of White Privilege and I’ve been too much of a coward to admit it. While I don’t consider myself to be a lazy individual, we all know that there are men and women who have worked harder for less, all because they weren’t given the same benefits that I have. That’s injustice, and it has to change.

 

I’m sorry that I haven’t been listening. So many of my black brothers and sisters in Christ have been trying to tell me that there is further work to be done for the Kingdom in terms of racial reconciliation; and I would rather just come up with stupid one-liners, or witty posts about food to feed my ego on Social Media. I want to see a realization of the Kingdom that God has already ordained (Revelation 5, Revelation 21), but that glimpse cannot be seen without racial reconciliation. So, before we run hand-in-hand into eternity, I need you to call me on my sin. I need you to tell me what I’ve been missing. And I need you to be gracious with me as I try to understand, because I really want to.

 

Ultimately, I’m sorry that you’ve been shouldering this alone. While white Christians like me sit in comfy suburban churches, and preach a false doctrine of “gentrification,” our black brothers and sisters wake up in a world where they’re afraid for their lives and family’s well-being. The Gospel has called us to more (Acts 2:42-47). Your burden is mine, but that doesn’t happen if I walk on the other side of the street. I want to do a better job of breaking bread with you. I want do a better job of sharing stories with you. I want to do a better job of being the brother Christ has called me to be for you (Ephesians 4:1-6). I want to be better, because you deserve better, because Christ deserves better.

 

I know that this is probably a very unimpressive and trite attempt at amends, but it’s all I know how to communicate at this moment. For once in a blog post I’m not going to try and cover up with impressive syntax or manipulative rhetoric, because all I really want to say is that I’m sorry and that I love you. Black lives matter much to Jesus, therefore they matter much to me. Let’s grab a beer or a cup of coffee, and let’s start creating a new life where our children know nothing of hatred, because their fathers taught them what it means to be brothers.

 

Sincerely from your brother in Christ,
Sean

A Father-Son Bond

Fun fact: I’m named after Sean Connery.

Fun observation: Even to this day, I know adults who call me “Seen.”

Just fun: I have no plans of ever correcting them.

 

The chief architect of my existence is God. However, a margin of responsibility must be awarded to my father, as he was present and is partially to be held accountable. To be fair, you can also attribute the existence of my other siblings, in-part, to the persistence of my folks and champagne.

 

But my birth was noteworthy because the duty of naming the offspring had alternated to him from my mother on this particular occasion. Thus, my pop scoured through his memory bank of monikers and landed on “Sean,” undoubtedly due to my Scottish accent and the fact that I came out of the womb shaken, but not stirred.

 

A little background on my father, he didn’t have an old man of his own. More than that, he still has no idea who his father even is. There certainly were prospects over the years, but none of them ever came through, leaving my dad to be a latch-key-kid, while his mother worked triples to keep the lights on in an empty home.

 

Despite all of this, pop turned out to be a pretty great man. Undoubtedly, this is nothing short of grace, because, while I’ve always known my father to be a man of character, I’m not so sure character was ever explicitly modeled for him growing up.

 

Recently I found myself in Seattle for work and–being the wonderful (and aboundingly humble) son that I am–decided to invite pop along, seeing as how he grew up there. The way I saw it, as a native Texan I needed to see foliage and my dad needed to see home, so we flew out to the Emerald City for a few days.

 

In between cups of coffee and rainfall, we ventured through 50 years of anecdotal history. My surprisingly spry 60-year-old man marched me all over Queen Anne’s Hill and downtown Seattle to show me a snapshot of his history. Story after story I came to understand my father a little more. I saw shells of the haunts he used to frequent. I put faces to hollow names. I heard about his victories and the moments that marred him. Truly, I felt a deep connection piecing together fragments of his story, but I also felt something unresolved.

 

In trekking through my dad’s fatherless geography, I can honestly say that my pop holds Seattle deep in his chest, but not every memory renders nostalgia; for while many of his anecdotes were endearing, they all lacked a father to share them with. Growing up, I never really fathomed how much of a wound it was for him, but in a moment, I got an idea driving past the Bay Theatre in Ballard. Pop told me about how 50 years ago his mom would often drop him off by himself, and he would escape into the latest spaghetti western or James Bond flick. John Wayne would always uphold justice and ride off into the sunset. Sean Connery would always stop the bomb and save the world. For my dad, there wasn’t a lot he could count on, but in the Bay Theatre, even if only for a little while, there were always men who came through.

 

As we were driving by I noticed that ‘Spectre’ was currently showing, and while there’s no argument that Bond is a drunken, narcissistic chauvinist in need of a conscience, I do share my dad’s love for a good spy movie (and Daniel Craig’s piercing-blue eyes).

 

So on a wild hair, I pulled over–because how often are you with your dad in his childhood home where one of your dad’s favorite film franchises is showing 50 years later in the exact same theater your dad grew up watching it? Probably like only three or four times. Probably.

 

The theater was fairly empty, aside from two retired gentlemen more than willing to narrate key plot points, but it was perfect. For a couple of hours we found ourselves entransed in a world of action and espionage; where, true to form, the hero came through.

 

Please note that I’m not exactly an emotional being (something that I’m actively trying to remedy), but this was special. Somewhere in the myriad of explosions and smug, British one-liners was a 10-year-old version of my dad, frozen in a moment, and I was right there with him. We didn’t say much about it and we didn’t have to – I’ve never understood my pop better than in that theater. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have a father who taught me what it looks like to seek the Lord and to be a man. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have a father who always loved my mother and always loved his children. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have a father. Period.
Now, I’m not trying to say there was this fantastic resolve for my dad on this trip and that years of pain miraculously wisped away. In many ways I think it will always be an impediment in his life. I guess what I’m driving at is that my pop never had his father with him in that dusty old theater, but I did. If you ask me, that’s a pretty special Bond.

pop and i in Seattle

I Hate That Jesus Loves Terrorists

I don’t care much for using “hate” in casual syntax. I was always taught to find thoughtful and softer verbiage to express my emotions. However, at this current moment I find myself identifying with a more visceral thought. Like you, I’ve been at a loss of words for the heart-wrenching wickedness that occurred in Paris. And like you, I really do hate everything about what ISIS is and what it stands for. I wish I could say that my abhorrence ended there, but today I found myself discontent with the idea of anything less than retribution. If I’m being completely transparent, what I want is blood. What I want is for those who have oppressed and terrorized to feel the calamity of fear and devastation they’ve quarried from helpless people. What I want is vengeance without compassion.

 

But the problem is that I fully believe the words of 2 Peter 3. I fully believe that the Lord is patient towards us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should receive salvation. And I fully believe the words of Jesus in Matthew 5. I fully believe God makes the sun rise upon the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just as well as the unjust. I fully believe all of it. But right now I hate that I fully believe any of it.

 

I hate that Jesus has patience for a group of people that would prey on the defenseless. I hate that God would desire the hearts of anyone looking to wipe the earth of anyone not sharing their wicked, genocidal views. I think of the countless stories of violence and defilement and human trafficking and struggle to feel any sentiment short of repugnant disdain for these people. But all that this reveals is my disbelief in the Gospel; because, if I did believe, what I would actually hate is the condition of my heart.

 

The frustrating thing about grace is that we cannot choose when and with whom to dispense it. It does not buckle to our whims, nor does it play by our rules. And praise the Lord that it doesn’t, because how hopeless would we be? No, grace is far less biased and withholding than I am. Meaning that perhaps the best way to sum up my Jesus’ love for genocidal terrorists is to quote the words of a previously genocidal terrorist: “Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15).

 

The reality is that my sin is no less putrid than what we’ve been watching. My heart is equally vile, and my actions hold me equally in contempt against a sovereign, good God. Justice cannot be swayed by my lobbying of comparisons, and it cannot play favorites. Justice must articulate and uphold the character of a righteous King, by which I have desecrated. Even so, truth tells us it was the love of God that compelled justice to destroy not me, but His perfect Son. And for the life of me I don’t understand it, but I love it.

 

I love it more every day as I see that my sin was actually much deeper than I had originally imagined, but my Jesus is far more compassionate than I will ever know. When I consider the cross, my hatred has to be crucified and my heart has to break for the broken people who persecute just as much as it does for those whom they persecute. My love cannot end with any border, real or perceived. It has to usher in a truth that Jesus is Lord of all and loves all. Even those who proclaim a maniacal evil. My love must be louder and it must echo a greater truth that He who knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

 

What I’m not making is any sort of statement political or military in nature. For I do believe in the defense of those who are being oppressed and I do believe in the thwarting of wicked agendas. This is simply just me trying to correct the posture of my heart, because while they might be willing to die to advance their wickedness, my God already died to end mine. They need to know that there is room at the table for more sons and daughters. They need to know that there is grace for them, yet. I cannot desire anything less for them. I will not desire anything less.
So, yeah. I love that Jesus loves terrorists. I love that His love even reaches for me.

WE are the Culture

There are a lot of things that I just don’t know.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a minority in a predominantly white culture. I don’t know what it’s like to be an officer of the law faced with decisions that are the literal difference between life and death. I don’t know what it’s like to grow up in a destitute community, without access to better educational or financial situations. I don’t know what it’s like to continually put my life on the line and enforce governing laws. I don’t know what it’s like to have been personally wronged by people in power, and grow up with a fear for the ones who uphold those laws. I don’t know what it’s like to face the parents of a slain child. I don’t know what it’s like to lose a child. I don’t know what it’s like to have ever been a child who is fatherless, whether in reality or principle. Today, I confess to you that I have lived a very convenient and luxurious life where I’ve known little persecution. In light of that, it just doesn’t feel right for me to try and make a judgement based off an article or any form of media conversation. In light of that it just doesn’t feel right for me to try and offer any sort of opinion or definitive thought. Because, there are a lot of things that I just don’t know.

However, there are a few things that I believe.

I believe we as a collective people were wired to crave justice. I believe we as a collective people need restoration. I believe we as a collective people are broken and desperately holding out for a hope that is greater than a man-made system or implementation. Some folks believe what happened was just. Others do not. I am not here to validate or discredit either thought. I’m here to say that no matter the resolve, there is no victory to be had in Ferguson.

This is not a political or societal statement. This is painful observation of the human condition and the failure of our culture altogether. And perhaps it’s more difficult for those privy to a privileged lifestyle not dissimilar to that of my own, to acknowledge our collective defeat; but it does not make it any less true.

I’ve heard a lot of defamatory and disparaging remarks over the past day or so. I’ve heard a sickening usage of words such as “us” and “them,” and yet we wonder why race keeps getting brought up. You see, we can go ahead and gentrify a community, or give to inner-city and urban non-profits, we can even adopt children of different ethnicities; but this does not mean we have rendered a culture free of racism and generational agony. Because, this fracture is much deeper than the baggage either of us carry. We are breathing in the calamity of what sin has done to Creation, and we cannot just pretend that rhetoric and like-minded thinking can undo such a visceral cut. The problem with “us” and “them” thinking is that it is a horrible lie from the depths of hell, because WE are the culture. WE are the people. WE are the wanton sons and daughters running away from righteousness like prodigal children. I don’t care what media outlet you subscribe to, or where you were raised – we all need redemption.

But this is what I find beautiful about my Jesus: He didn’t simply participate in culture. He didn’t merely fraternize with people groups.  He left the glory of Heaven to immerse Himself in a hopelessly tormented world. He didn’t look from afar, merely offering handouts or sage advice. He walked with and reconciled people whom He owed nothing to. He who knew no sin became sin, so that we might inherit the righteousness of God. None of us were exempt from the grasp of sin, and yet the Savior rooted Himself in our afflicted culture so that we would know who holds the standard of justice and restoration.

So my question is why do we sit in our ivory towers and judge from off in the distance? What standard have we for disconnected grace? Should we not be concerned for that great city? Should we not go to walk with those whose hearts are really no different than our own? I am not saying that your observations of this tragedy are false. I am not pretending that I or anyone else has all the facts. I am simply pointing out that this is the responsibility of the Church. All I am saying is that I feel a great conviction to understand that this is bigger than any feeble opinion I could possibly dare to conjure. And I am asking that you would join with me in seeking as to what and to where the Lord would lead us in restoring His kingdom and His people; whether that be in Ferguson, our own cities, or anywhere else.

What if we stopped pretending that any of us have all the answers, and started trusting the One who does? What if we sought to understand those with tax-brackets and geography foreign to us? What if we were less divisive and pensive over political opinions, and eagerly begged for the return of the true King who will restore this broken world and bring unity to His displaced people? The reality is that racism will continue until Jesus shows us the full gambit of His color. Until we realize that our varying cultures and pallets are merely mirrors of an infinitely diverse God, we will struggle with our own reflection. I thoroughly believe that such a day is coming. I thoroughly believe that Jesus is returning to fix everything. And when our King (and yes, He is OUR King) returns, we won’t care if He’s white or black or blue or green or teal because we’ll know that He is glorious. And we’ll finally know that together, we are His people. Oh, how I long for that day.

Maranatha, Lord Jesus.

Waiting is Progress

If there’s anything I’ve learned from interacting with my two-and-a-half-year-old niece, it’s that she lacks the capacity to stay in one place for longer than seven seconds at a time. Granted, my interaction with little ones is pretty much limited to her, I’ve gathered that this nomadic trait is rather frequent among those who have recently become mobile. As many others of her kind do, Kaitlyn possesses the ability to get into anything she shouldn’t, and I would go so far as to say that she celebrates her cumbersome curiosity. Now, please do not misunderstand, as I greatly encourage her exploration and desire to discover new things; however, I would also greatly encourage her to just focus on ‘Frozen’ for longer than five minutes (I guess I’ll just have to let it go). The point is that her patience is thin. She doesn’t like to stay where she is for very long, and she doesn’t like to wait on other people when she wants to go. And even though she always has her needs met, and plenty of generous additional provisions, she is easily mesmerized by things she does not have, and very much wants things that haven’t been given to her. My goodness, children are so silly. I am so glad that we adults have our business together and are in no way similar.

Actually, I’m about to drop an analogy bomb here that I’m sure you never saw coming (what with the title of this post and all), but more often than not, I feel like I’m no different from niece when it comes to being impatient (mind blown?). I think the only real variation is that I have proven myself (debatably) to be more articulate and cunning in my wandering. But at 24 I am still unruly and so often discontent with where I am. And the craziness is that where I am is actually rather wonderful, as I have been blessed with more than enough means to provide for myself and live in what I contend to be one of the greatest cities ever (that’s Austin for those of you who are keeping score). Yet, often times I feel unfulfilled and lonely in a place where I believe the Lord has led me. I have a nasty habit of comparing who I am and what I have with those who are clearly not me and have what I don’t. And while I may not actually say it aloud, I clearly do not believe enough is ever enough, to the point where it’s almost as if I were alien to contentment. Now, please stop me if you can’t relate, but even while I have all of my needs met, I constantly fail to trust that the Lord’s provision and timing will be able to sustain. My heart is a fickle, forgetful one, prone to nothing short of worry and wantonness.

I used to think loneliness was a disqualifier for joy. I once thought that validation in my ministry meant that I would continually be surrounded by people who could relate or at least understand me. Then I actually started reading the Bible. In all seriousness, I’ve come to learn it was not uncommon that the Lord would send his servants, even in their obedience, into solitude. And at that, He would often send them into isolating circumstances for decades on end. Many of the most prominent people of Scripture were those who waited on the Lord. Abraham waited 25 years before God fulfilled His promise of a son. Joseph was sold into slavery and imprisoned for a combination of 13 years before the Lord used Him to interpret Pharaoh’s dream and endure the people of Egypt. Moses waited 40 years in the wilderness before God sent Him to emancipate the Israelites. You can’t help but look at these examples and wonder what gambit of emotions these men felt. For profound periods of their lives, they waited on the Lord. And I’m sure that they believed the promises of God on a fundamental level; however, I imagine it was a daily struggle to trust that He is who He says He is.

We have the privilege of hindsight, and while that’s great for expediting the length of a narrative, I think we often lose the humanity of their individual stories. It’s so easy to trivialize their faith as the “knee-jerk responses of great men,” but these dudes had to have personified a full range of insecurity. At the very least, I don’t imagine that they just randomly woke up one day feeling chipper and ready to obey the Lord. These were products of refinement and development of character that had to have taken place while they were confined to uncertainty. I believe it was Abraham’s disobedience in trying to bare a son on his own terms (Ishmael) that taught him to trust God at His word. I believe that it was Joseph’s incarceration that gave him a compassion for those who had previously wronged him. I believe it was Moses’ humble days as a sheep herder that enabled him to lead God’s people. The thing about these examples, is that these men were not passively sitting around, hoping the Lord would zap them with the “warm fuzzies” and fervor to obey, so much as they were actively struggling through what God had for them. And that is exactly where I find myself.

Yet, what I continually see in my struggle, is that my Jesus is far more patient and persistent than I could ever dream. Because I find Him waiting for a day in which I would trust Him and truly want to be with Him. Yet, lovingly, He continues to soften my callous heart to believe that He is better. He continues to remind me that He is the only One who has experienced true loneliness, for He is the only one that was abandoned at the cross. My struggle and my pain are so finite compared to what Christ has faced on my behalf. Yet, constantly I doubt His persistence even though I ask Him to give me some of my own. I am a fool if there ever was one.

coffeewithjesusTheRealWorld

 

Ultimately, we really are just children. We’re children with bank accounts and an addiction to anything made out of pumpkin (can I get an “amen?!”). I’m no better than Kaitlyn, and I need to stop pretending as if I were, because my faith is just as childish and anxious as any other. But the Lord is teaching me how to be more patient, and while it’s difficult, it’s bringing me hope. Because here in lies the beauty of waiting. It is for the inspired. It is for those who dream. It is for those who seek change. For the irony of waiting is that while our worlds feel stagnant, our hearts are undergoing unimaginable transformation. Waiting on the Lord requires tremendous faith, but it is through that discipline of trust and obedience that the Lord corrects the posture of our hearts to love and desire better things than the world in which we wait. The Israelites were meant for more than I high-carb diet in a dessert, but the Lord couldn’t deliver them to His Promises until they loved Him more than the bread He provided. To put it simply: Jesus wants greater things for us, but our hearts are not yet ready for those things. If today you feel as though your life is in a holding pattern, perhaps Jesus is working on your heart to desire heavenly things that last longer than death and broken earth. Perhaps your pallet needs cleansing, and your aim is to low. We aren’t waiting for more bread, we are waiting for our King.

Waiting is not passive, it is persistent. Waiting is a constant action of begging the Lord to remind ourselves the truth of the Gospel and what Jesus has done on our behalf. Waiting is faith that there is coming a day where we no longer believe ourselves to be lonely.

For it is in waiting that we know our Jesus patiently waits with us.  

24 is the WORST.

24 is a peculiar number, don’t you think? Well, perhaps I’ve given this a little too much thought, but it’s really a bit of an odd number, which is quite strange considering how it is explicitly even. I mean, c’mon, 24 has moments where it’s overzealous and incredulous, as in “Can we really not just give Jack Bauer the day off?” And then there are moments in which it’s constricting and restless, as in “How am I’m to pack a vocation, human interaction, and an adequate amount of sleep in only one rotation of the earth?” And more still, it’s sobering and slightly inebriating, as in “You are six years from thirty, MEANING you’re but 14 years shy of a midlife crisis (which is really happening right now as a John Mayer-esque ‘quarter-life crisis’) because you’re not that thirteen-year-old who climbed Mt. Everest.” To put it simply, 24 is a horribly implausible number – which is a mathematical impossibility, but yet, here we are.

24-Complete-Series-Box-Art

Now, I think 24 is a sinister and viscous number, because it’s chalked full of unwarranted introspection. 24 is very quick to remind me that I am a college grad who probably owes Sallie Mae my first born child. 24 is also keen on the fact that I haven’t even met the mother of said first born child. And as if to add insult to injury, 24 wants me to know that I haven’t done anything noteworthy enough for anyone to name their first born child after me. I don’t know who keeps inviting 24 to parties, but he’s a jerk when he’s drunk.

Then again, it could be that 24 means well. He’s just awful at communicating the fact that he cares. I get that. I tend to be the same way.

I think what 24 is trying to say is that it’s time to stop behaving childish. Like a caring fatherly figure, I think he just wants me to have a better grasp on my finances, or on my goals, or even the root of why I feel lonely at times. I think 24 is nauseated by how narcissistic 23 was, and what a bad influence he was on me. I think 24 wants me to actually put a little skin in the game, and live up to my potential. 24 hates the excuses I’ve made. I think 24 wants me to take solace in the fact that I am 24 because this is where the Lord has me. I think 24 wants me to understand that in God’s sovereignty, He has brought me to this place for a reason.

Maybe 24 is only a two-year-stale Taylor Swift song. Maybe 24 is a misprinted Jordan jersey. But then again, maybe 24 is my best year yet. And even if it’s not, it’s where I need to be, because it’s here. It’s not 25, or 26 or 30, or anything else. It’s today, and today is tremendously relevant. I spend so often living in a psychological time machine that wants to be anywhere but right now. I’m nostalgic towards the past, and I’m curious towards the future; but I don’t give now the time of day, partly because I’m not wearing a watch, but mostly because I’m foolish. There is no moment more urgent than the one we find ourselves. We should commend God on how persistent He is in giving us today. Like, he’s given me a lot of “todays,” and I keep burning through them as if there’s no tomorrow (say what?). Now is a perfectly fine moment to chase a dream, or ask out a girl, or take inventory how much grace I’ve been shown. I hate to say it, but 24 is making a lot of sense right now. I keep looking for reason or answers in some elusive number down the road, but that’s nonsense, as down the road may not come.

Now, I want to let you in on a secret. I don’t actually think that I’ve been having cheesy conversations with 24. You see, that is actually a literary device called “personification,” because numbers can’t converse. That’s just silly. (By the way – Did I mention how I recently graduated college and learned how to use literary devices such as personification? What’s that? You’re not impressed? Okay, I’ll move on.) Despite the fact that I ran with this motif for far too long, I suspect you might identify more than you’d care to let on. Perhaps you find yourself in the same boat; only your boat might look more like 43 or 31 or 72. In any event, I believe that number suits you well. If nothing else, you might as well wear it out because you won’t get it back.

I refuse to believe that these days are superfluous. The way I see it, Christ has given you and me enough breath to carry us to this moment. You know, like, right now. As you read my ramblings, you have been endured for great purpose (far greater than reading my ramblings). Our fatal flaw, is that we believe ordinary moments are irrelevant; as if our lives only have purpose at weddings, birthdays, or funerals. But I believe you can encounter the Lord at any given moment, whether it’s at church or while eating a sandwich, we were made to lives of continual worship. We were made to live lives of continual importance. Now, maybe that sounds a little “Obi-Wan Kenobi-ish,” but believing that your life diminishes (or even fluctuates) in value over time is even more preposterous. There is no drop off after 21, or whatever you deem to be “the good ol’ days.” I don’t mean to go all “Dr. Phil” on you, but as far as I’m concerned, this is the most important year of your life. In all seriousness, what would it mean if you actually trusted that this is the day (or year) the Lord has made? What would it mean if you took a moment and asked for the Lord’s faithfulness in showing you what He has for you today? What if you wrote a song, prayed over relationships, or ate a taco with a friend? What if we realized that 24 or 43 or 31 or 72 are imperative numbers because they are the ones the Lord has given us? To be honest, I’m not sure what exactly would happen, but I’m sure the math will add up.