When my son, Jens, was a little guy, he spent a lot of time with my Daddy—”Papa”. Papa was a gentle soul. He taught his grandson how to be a real man but how to maintain his caring demeanor at the same time.
Even though Daddy had retired from a career in the Marine Corps long before Jens was born, he was a proud Marine the rest of his life.
Jens emulated quite a lot of what he saw in Papa’s example of living. He considered the ROTC in high school but was snatched up by the track team instead. BTW, he lettered in the long jump in his sophomore year! (No, I’m not at all embarrassed to be a proud Mama…)
He graduated from high school and attended a trade school to become an auto mechanic. Even though he’s really intelligent, he knew he wasn’t the academic type but wanted a skill with which he could support a family.
Over the years, he has several times revisited the idea of joining the Armed Services. Each time, for one reason or another, he has chosen a different path. Remember I said recently that if you don’t learn the lesson you keep repeating it?
Two years ago, Jens and his then-fiancé moved to the East Coast to live with her parents while she earned a BA. Well, that was their plan. She couldn’t get into the college, and the housing arrangement fell apart. And…
And God had a different plan for them. They only stayed there for five months. But during that time, Jens shared a very meaningful relationship with his future father-in-law. Joe is a career Marine and stationed at the Pentagon. Joe mentored him in much the same way that Papa did when he was young.
Jens came back to California resolved to join the military. Because he is now 30, the Marines were not an option, so my boy will be a proud Sailor. He tested very high on the entrance test and will be trained to be an Advanced IT Specialist. I’m quite certain that he wouldn’t have done so well if he had joined earlier.
Last weekend, we all had the opportunity to renew our Covenant with God. This is our time to reassess our commitment to our Faith Journey. “What do I want out of my relationship with God?” “Do I HAVE a relationship with God?” “How can I share my faith, my gifts and talents, with those around me?”
I look at my son’s life journey. What I see is that he knew all along what he wanted. He allowed himself to be taken here and there on other paths. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that the circuitous route we take is often God’s plan exactly. There are lessons to be learned along the way that have led us to this exact place and time.
Don’t be afraid to surrender yourself to God’s will. I tell people all the time that I don’t have the answers. But I do know this one: God knows what’s best for us. Listen. Heed the signs. They’re there right in front of you. We so often are sure that we have it all figured out for ourselves and we overlook the obvious prompting of the Holy Spirit.
If you didn’t complete a Covenant last weekend, I encourage you to consider taking the time to do it now. No one with ever see it except you. It will be mailed back to you next summer and you will be able to review your commitments. In two weeks, the Covenant chest will be moved under the back altar where it will remain in the sanctuary all year as a reminder to you of your promises to God.