In retrospect, my late forties was when it all started. I didn’t know it was a midlife crisis. I thought more along the lines that I had lost my way, I had wandered off the path that God was leading me on but somehow got lost.
I spent so much time trying to get back to the path , it felt like I was stuck in quick sand. I couldn’t have been more wrong about the way I was seeing things.
When I was twenty two I had an experience that changed my life in a big way. I later learned that it was what Christians call being born again. God took over my being, everything was God this, God that, Jesus loves you, Jesus loves me, man Jesus even loves my 8th grade teacher who gave me a failing grade.
I was so full of this new phenomenon in my life I even tried to convert my ever-loving and understanding Jewish parents. Not only did I deliver the “you will never make it into heaven unless you repent and give your life over to Jesus” followed by “you need to give up everything to follow Jesus, like the early disciples did”. But that is a story for another time.
I was on fire for God, my faith grew in leaps and bounds, I went from being a babe in Christ to trying to take over the world for God single-handed. I learned to witness, preach the gospel, read my bible, pray, spout bible verses, be a missionary in foreign lands, teach others to teach others. Got married, had kids, cloned my children in the way. I was a man on a mission. In my own eyes I was the perfect child of God.
Gradually without warning my self-made persona started to crack. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong and I felt hopeless and helpless to do anything about it. God surely abandoned me in my time of need.
From going from believing that God spoke to me at every turn, his presence ever so immediate, feeling so special that nothing could touch me. His voice became less obvious. His presence hidden from my daily life.
I felt like I was doing something wrong, surely God was mad at me to hide himself from me. I was taking this all too personally. I wasn’t seeing the forest for the trees.
Most recently I have been encouraged by one of our most revered bible characters; Moses.
Here was a man who was not only spared from death as a child but because of the foresight of his parents he not only lived but was raised in the house of the ruler of the most powerful country at the time.
The bible doesn’t really say but using our imagination Moses must have had the world at his feet. A prince being prepped for great things in his adopted fathers kingdom. He was probably full of himself too.
Driving through the cities in his fancy chariots, attending all the best parties, strutting through the streets flexing his muscles feeling the top of the world as the peons bow as he passed.
Then in one moment of insanity that all comes to an abrupt end when he kills a fellow Egyptian as they were picking on one of Jewish slaves. You know the story. He had to flee and wound up in the middle of nowhere tending cattle for a man who took him in and gave him one of his daughters to marry. A new unexpected life.
Around the age of forty Moses virtually lost everything he had lived for, Driven away you may rightly point out by his own stupid impulsive bad temper or sense of justice.
So our dear Moses spends the next forty years in virtual exile. Talk about a midlife crisis.
I would love to have been a fly on the wall or tent and take in all that Moses suffered and learned during that time. From a brash “I can do anything I please” upstart to a man so broken that when God said “OK buddy, I think your ready, your people are ready, all the pieces are in place, its time for you to do what you were born to do”, he virtually begged God to pick someone else.
The bible doesn’t say much about what Moses went through inside but now I can sort of relate and understand to some degree of what it takes to become ready for the call.
Perhaps it took Moses forty years because he was so resistant to change or there was so much to strip away of his old life. Either way God is patient as He waits for us to shed the past and prepares our hearts for the future.
The last twenty years of my life has built up to being one hell-of-a midlife crisis. For the most part I hadn’t understood God’s plan.
To be honest I still don’t. But God is giving me some semblance of understanding that He is in control. If it takes one year or forty years, God is will wait till we are ready for whatever it is He needs us for.
Now I believe I have turned a corner. I understand now that God has not been angry with me but has used the situation that I had gotten my self into so as to make me a better man by stripping me of myself.
God may not be prepping me for a higher calling in this world, or a greater mission with more meaning than what I am doing now but I do know that God doesn’t make mistakes and he doesn’t waste the life that he gives us as long as we see Him in everything that comes our way.
Have you felt that God has abandoned you? Do you feel its going on far too long? Are you at the point of giving up? Do you say “I can’t can’t take this any more” more often than you should?
Then yes, welcome to the club, you are going through a midlife crisis: God’s way.