“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
June 12th is a special day in my life. I graduated from high school on June 8, 1972. I am amazed that 48 years have passed beneath the bridge of my life. Time seems to travel so quickly. As a child it was a gentle stream and now as a mature (that is in years and not necessarily actions) adult it seems a raging torrent. So 48 years ago I was member of the largest graduating in the state of Florida for that year…714 seniors from one high School. Trust me…it was easy to be a small fish in that big pond. By Monday all that was in the rearview mirror.
On Monday, June 12, 1972, I raised my right hand and swore to protect and defend the constitution of the United States and to obey the orders of those appointed in rank above me. I was eighteen, naive, had never been away from home and wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into. If I remember that day correctly we took the oath, had last minute medical exams, and filled out a mountain of paperwork. They took us to Morrison’s Cafeteria for a last meal of sorts and then on to the airport for the flight to Lackland Air Force Base. Intentionally we arrived at about 2:00 am…something they still do today. We were given a couple of hours of sleep before beginning the great journey of becoming airmen.
The privilege of serving my country for the next twelve years marks that day as one of the great days of my life. The training I received there impacted the rest of my life. The skills I received in my advance training and then in my career prepared me for something far greater then I could imagine. Little did I know on June 12, 1972, what God had planned for me. Saddle up your horses boys…this is the great adventure.
After twelve years in the Air Force it became apparent that the winds of change were blowing in my life. I so loved the Air Force—it was my niche, my calling. Starting in 1980 there were these whispers from Abba Father, my dearest daddy, that He wanted to do something more. It was a whisper from Him to jump into the unknown. It was a whisper to trust Him at a level that I had never before experienced. He was calling and it was undeniable.
The details are still vivid in my mind but time doesn’t allow the whole story to be told. On February 14, 1982, I went forward in a morning worship service and told God I would do whatever He wanted. Four short months later I found myself still in the service but in His service pastoring a small church close to our home. Those days were crazy days. Over the course of a few months the deal was sealed. He whispered that He wanted me to give myself completely to Him. He no longer wanted share me with the Air Force. With that, Judy and I, along with our two very young daughters, prepared to jump big.
That leads to our second June 12th. On that date in 1983, on a hot Sunday afternoon, I sat before a large ordaining council and a larger crowd. That day, June 12, 1983, I was ordained, set apart, to serve Him. My fondest memory of that day came after the council had asked all their questions. They had been graceful to me and I was grateful. The chairman of the council told the moderator that he had no more questions. The moderator then asked if anyone else had an questions. I only thought I was done.
An elderly pastor, slowly stood to his feet and said, “Young man, the Bible says that the husband is the head of the home. It also says that a pastor is to rule his house well. Are you going to rule your house well?” And he sat down. If there was ever a time that I needed for God gave me the right words to say it was probably then. With all the intentional fortitude I could muster I said, “Yes sir…if Judy will let me.” The room erupted and I got ordained.
And here I sit thirty-eight years later so grateful for a God who believed in me and hundreds of people who were patient and loved me. I have seen wheelbarrows full of grace from the God of the universe and His people. If you ever wonder why I am grace heavy in my teaching it is because I have needed it so much and I have experienced it so much. I am blessed. Game. Set. Match. The Bible says that this day, this very one, is a day that the Lord has made. We get to choose how we are going to live it and how we will remember it. Well I am so grateful for two days in June, both the 12th. They are markers for this incredible journey called life. How about you? Do you have some special days that God moved, that God spoke, that God just showed off? Let me encourage you to celebrate them…and Him. He is such a good Abba Father to do less is unimaginable. So go ahead, relive the times, relive the days when He showed up, when you rested in Him, when you just knew “He’s got this.” Then you can be the whisperer and softly say, “Thank you, Father.”