In an increasingly mad and maddening world, we need spiritual grounding more than ever. Hence my mentioning here Cephas Hour, a usually weekly podcast featuring the best of Christian rock and pop from then and now, plus, as of late, some commentary from yours truly. Said commentary is reprinted below along with music videos for a few of the songs I’ve played this time through.
This week’s episode contains musings on youth and experience. Please forgive any “get off my lawn” vibes. Also, some throwbacks for longtime show listeners to enjoy. And in case you’re listening to the show and wondering what’s going on at the beginning, it’s a dedication to a dear friend who lives in Australia.
The other morning, I was getting ready for the day job when it moved me to pray for someone. Not a quick “Hey, God, You got this — catch up with you later” prayer. Instead, one of the deep kind, the one where you literally and figuratively get on your knees. So I did.
Once I finished, I quickly reminded myself how getting down on your knees doesn’t change much in the difficulty department as the years pass by. However, getting back up is an entirely different proposition.
Perhaps that’s the point. As some things get more challenging with age, others get easier via the wisdom gained solely from experience. It’s part of the balance of the body of Christ, the enthusiasm and strength of the young combined with the learned understanding of the old. It is lamentable how so much of the church follows the world’s ways by always seeking the shiny and new rather than valuing and promoting the worn and the wise. I read a quote the other day: “Every time an old person dies, a library burns to the ground.” Wise words. Don’t participate in a pseudo-spiritual Fahrenheit 451.
A while back, I heard a joke about how by the time I turned 18, I had all the answers in life, and my father was the dumbest man alive. By the time I turned 21, I still had all the answers … but it was amazing how much the old man had smarted up in three years.
Most of us who’ve been around a bit remember the heady days of our youthful zeal when we knew everything God had in store for us and everyone else. Back then, He communicated with us via telegram and later on fax, but He communicated nonetheless. Or so we thought.
Do you ever wish you knew what God was up to in your life, even though you know that if you did, you’d undoubtedly mess it up somehow? There is much truth to the adage that none of us have sufficient power to ruin God’s plan for our life. Still, while we know there’s a reason why God doesn’t send us a text or tweet or Snapchat or TikTok video every morning outlining His preferred agenda for us for the day, there will be times we wryly smile and whisper to the heavens, “I wouldn’t mind if you did.” And then we get on with it.
Earlier I mentioned how youth and experience are both vital elements in a complete church. One of the items only experience teaches, those who’ve learned the lesson invariably attempting to teach the inexperienced and invariably failing in their efforts, is the difference between understanding that what you don’t know, you don’t know … and that you do not know what you do not know. Indulge me while I explain my reasoning.
Most of us have at least some inkling of that about, or for, which we are untrained. For example, unless you are a trained and experienced physician, you will probably not attempt surgery.
We don’t have any idea of how off-base our presumptions are regarding that which we have not yet experienced. We can guess, we can surmise, we can even role-play. But we don’t know. We will never know until it happens.
This is why there is little patience among those who grieve for those who don’t understand grief. It’s easy to tell the person who has lost a loved one who was a believer to be of good cheer, they’re not really dead, and you’ll see them again in Heaven. While there are truthful elements in this, there is also the hollow failure of understanding.
Call me after the funeral, you young yappers and yammerers. Call me when there’s a face and voice forever burned into your heart attached to the name in the obituary column. Call me when you’re stripped bare by unimaginable, unrecoverable loss. Then, and only then, will you understand mourning. There is magic and loss when a believer enters Heaven. Until you personally know the latter, don’t speak of the former.