This week’s column’s inspiration came from a recent edition of CBS This Morning. President Carter read a letter he wrote as a 90-year-old to himself as a 12-year-old. Here is my letter from myself now to myself as a 12-year-old.
This letter is from the future. This is you, writing to you, 43 years from now.
Three years from now you will go through a life-changing event. I’m not going to tell you precisely what happens; you are not ready for it yet. You’ll know when it comes.
There is a lesson in the fact that I won’t tell you exactly what happens – God will only allow things in your life when you are ready for them.
The word “God” probably jumped off the page to you. As your life is now, God, or religion, is not a part of your life. What happens in three years will change all that. Through your deepest sorrow, God will bring you your greatest joy.
There is another lesson there, No matter what will happen God is always working in your life. Once you know Him everything will work out for the best, even in your darkest hours (Romans 8:28).
You haven’t met your future wife yet. You will both still be teens when she walks down the aisle. The love you will have for each other will continue to grow through the decades. You’ll have your arguments, but nothing serious. Never go to bed angry with each other (Ephesians 4:26). Always put her on a pedestal, you are God’s gift to each other (1 Peter 3:7-9). By the way, when you ask her to marry you, she will say “no” the first time, and the second and the third, well, just keep trying.
One thing God will deal with you during your young adulthood will be pride. I won’t explain how, again, you are not ready. I will say this, He’ll slap you pretty good, but it is for your own good.
You and the family will suffer for about a year. In the end, you will have a changed heart. The lesson God teaches you through your year of suffering will be a significant portion of who you will become.
Another lesson here – when God works, sometimes, at the time, it will be unpleasant, but God is working through you to teach either you and someone else.
You will make your fair share of mistakes, but at least by your mid-50s you won’t have any major regrets. Praise the Lord for that, not many people can say that.
If there were any one thing I would tell you to change, it would be how you handle money. Have more faith in God about your money. It’s all His anyway. There will be times in your life you won’t know how you will be able to do it financially and He will always provide. He will produce from places and people you would never dream of. They say God works in mysterious ways, honestly, I think it is that He works in His ways, and we just don’t think the way He does.
Speaking of money, you may be wondering how you will make your money during your lifetime. Sorry, but your dream of becoming the play-by-play announcer of the Cleveland Indians will never happen. I won’t give you details, but I will tell you this, you will have a career and a calling. They will be separate, and God will lead you into both. The job will provide the material means for your family; the calling will help the spiritual needs of many.
Your greatest joys in life will be your family and what you do for God. Your deepest heartaches in life will be caused by your family and the things you do for God.
I’ll end this with advice, some of these lessons you will learn, some you will still be working on when you hit my age.
1. Always put God first.
2. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.
3. You can always judge your actions by the love test. Does it show love to God and your neighbor?
4. Never go to bed angry.
5. Pray about everything.
6. Your children are sinners just like everyone else.
7. Be humble; when you are wrong admit it and try to fix it.
8. The opposite of love is selfishness.
9. People are of the utmost importance, things have little, if any, value.
10. Don’t be afraid to let people see your faults. If nothing else, they may learn from your mistakes.
In summary, the presence of God in your life will make all the difference. He has always been there and, like I said, in about three years you’ll make Him a part of it. Without God, there is no hope, but with Him you can do all things through Christ who will strengthen you.
With pleasure and happiness,