All this to say, I am coming to see that age is not as much a figment of my imagination as I once thought it would be. I really am seeing changes in my body that tell me I really am the guy the AARP thinks I am. Now, many of you reading this who know me will say that this has been as obvious as my growing bald spot has been over the last few years. So, as hard as it is for a guy who never thought he'd have to start thinking about the possibility of what comes after tri-focals--I must admit my body is getting older and appears to be headed in the general direction for the same graveyard that contains the bones of my ancestors.
But, having said all this--I also have to tell you that I don't feel old. I mean, whereas I am getting older and my body feels older--I don't feel old. I still feel as young and as strong and as vigorous as I did back when I was in my prime. I still enjoy challenges, risks, and yes, even change. I still want to run another ultra-marathon, climb some more mountains, do some more backpacking, hunt a few more elk, keep playing ball, and continue wrestling with my three boys even though the only one I can whup now is Peter and that is because he is only four and I outweigh him by about 200 lbs. You see, I'm not interested in slowing down even though I realize I am slower than I used to be. I'm not interested in taking it easy or finding some relaxing patch of green pasture to spend the rest of my days. Rather, what I am thinking about these days is taking on the challenge of my life--the challenge for which all the others were training--the challenge of pursuing God hard in the last lap of my life as a missionary in a remote orphanage in a remote village in Northwest Cameroon using this ministry as a platform by which to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a Muslim people group who are as of yet still unreached and whose language I do not know--yet.
Now, where would I get such a hair-brained scheme like this? Actually, I found it in the Bible in the Book of Joshua chapter 14 and verse 12. In this verse, Caleb, an 85 year old man who because of his faithfulness to the Lord was in line to receive some land in the Land of Canaan. When it came time to receive his allotment he had one request. At 85, you could easily imagine that he'd be wanting land already developed and easy for the taking. Perhaps something with a beautiful view of the mountains within easy access to his doctors, a Canaanite golf course, and of course a full-compliment of Philistine restaurants nearby would be nice. But believe it or not, this was not what Caleb had in mind. He wanted the hill country--the land yet to be fought for and more significantly the land still possessed by a strange, powerful, ferocious, and ungodly people known as the Anakim. Not only was this Caleb's desire--he was willing to fight for it as well.
At 85 years old Caleb wasn't ready for greener pastures--he was preparing for bigger battles and greater risks. He wasn't presumptuous either. This is why he makes the point that "perhaps the LORD will be with me and I will drive them out as the LORD has spoken". This is the kind of man I want to be--the kind who instead of slowing down to rest as the finish line is approaching kicks it into high gear even if it appears to be 4WD Low to those looking on and runs for all he's worth to the finish line. I want to tackle bigger challenges, far more dangerous spiritual foes, and climb higher mountains as I get closer to Heaven for once I am there the day for fighting sin, challenging the spiritual status quo, making much of Jesus before unbelievers, and giving my mortal life for the glory of God in seeing unbelievers drawn to Christ through the proclamation of the Gospel will be over.
As I approach those years some call "golden" which, qualify you for a discounted cup of coffee and cheap food, I, like Caleb, would rather have the hill country where the Anakim live. Perhaps, God will find this more pleasing and more glorifying to Himself than resting in greener pastures and thus will be with me so as to give me the adventure of a lifetime.
And if you have read this far--why not skip down a couple more lines in the blog and check out our videos highlighting our call to head to Cameroon.