As I begin the new year of 2013 I have a serious question to ponder for this year. One that I don’t know the answer to yet and may never know the complete answer to for years to come. Why is it that the older I get, the more I have to fight from becoming more cynical about everything in life?
As the end of 2012 came and went, I had some downtime and that topic keep creeping through my mind. I don’t want to end up as a crusty old cynic, heck, I don’t even like crusty old cynics for that matter. Yet, if I let my guard down, I find myself slipping more to the cynical side of life and away from the joyful, celebratory, and optimistic side.
Maybe there is something to this on the being on the downside of life after hitting 50 this year. But I don’t think that is all there is to it. I think it has more to do with a realization that I have worked hard to do what the Lord wants me to do and there is still so much to do that you just realize there is a good chance you will never get to finish all you have in your heart to do for the kingdom. It’s like you stop and take a look backward and realize that the dreams you had when you were 20 may not ever come to fruition and that can leave the best of us just a little cynical.
Plus you have the tragedy of Newtown thrown in there and time to watch the nightly news and you just stop and throw your hands in the air and say “Lord, come soon, cause we are just messing this up more and more!” It seems that with the gospel being taken to new places and with new technology faster than ever, you want to think that the end of violence, slavery, sin, and disease could become a reality in your lifetime. And then you take a good look around and say, nope don’t think it is the way we are going now.
That realization that we are not better off than we were a hundred years ago in spite of our modern way of life can make one a little cynical. We just are more aware of the hurt and pain of people we will never meet and never know. We have more creature comforts but are our lives any richer than our grandparents and great-grandparents in ways that really matter. Are our relationships better? Are our families better? Are we kinder to strangers? Do we take better care of the widows and orphans among us? Are our churches better?
When I start thinking like that there is one thought that halts me on my fast track to old cynic status. Jesus said there would always be trouble in the world but take heart because He has overcome the world. He said there would always be wars, rumors of wars, persecution, and poverty until He comes back. I think of what it must have been like to be Jesus and leave this earth knowing that so much more had to be done to deliver the message of redemption and reconciliation to the people and how it must have pained him to have to leave the disciples. But he knew the Holy Spirit would come to finish the work through those he left behind. And that is where I find great joy these days in knowing that the Lord will use those who come behind me that I have influenced to finish the work that I cannot finish.
That’s why I always want to lean toward the joyful, celebratory, and optimistic side of life. I know the end of the story and it has a happy ending. I want to play out the rest of my life investing in those who will carry on till Jesus comes after I am gone. There is no time to be a cynic, when so much work needs to be done to point people to a Savior!