The foundation upon which the United States of America was built consisted of two religions: a secular religion that was based on the beliefs and principles of individualism, self-reliance, freedom, hard work, patriotism, and independence, and a biblical religion that was based on the beliefs and principles of the 10 Commandments, the God of the Old Testament, and the teachings of the Son of God.
There are several ugly truths about life that most of us ignore. I want to cover two of those ugly truths today. The first is that the path through life is fraught with uncertainty. The second is that by the time we’re mature adults, we have had experience with the first truth, but most of the time, we tuck it away into a deep dark corner of our minds. Then we go on with our lives behaving as though the first truth does not exist.
Last week, I wrote about how we spend a good part of our lives in sorrow because of suffering that is, in most cases, unavoidable. I provided a short but specific definition of the word “suffer,” which is, “to undergo or feel pain or distress.” I then provided the definition of “sorrow,” which is “a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others.”
About 10 years ago, I attended a four-day marketing conference in Chicago. One of the speakers was a young woman who was in her early 30s and was a well-known expert in email marketing. In one of her presentations, she talked about how she hires other people to do what she considers non-essential tasks — grocery shopping, meal preparation, and house cleaning — so she can spend her time on higher value activities.
When I was 12 years old, I took over a paper route delivering newspapers for the Peoria Journal Star. The route included the neighborhood that I grew up in, which consisted of several of my relatives. The first year that I had my paper route, I was pleasantly surprised when I received gifts from several of my customers during the Christmas season.
It’s been more than a month since my surgery, which took place on November 4th. Last week, I made three trips to the pharmacy to pick up refills for different medications. I have one medication for nerve pain and a couple of other medications that I use for general pain. There’s also a medicated mouth rinse that I use after I brush my teeth. It’s supposed to reduce swelling and ward off infections.
I wasn’t planning on writing about my surgery. My medical problems were not something that I wanted to share with everyone. My plan was to get through my surgery and to be out of the hospital within a few days, which wouldn’t interfere with me continuing to write my weekly Adoration Letter. It turned out that my plan didn’t materialize. Why? Because God had a different plan in mind for me.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of willingly choosing to accept less freedom in order to become something greater than what we already are. When we choose to consistently give up certain freedoms, we become much more responsible, and we are eventually able to achieve more than we would have ever thought was possible. This is a critical concept that must be understood and practiced by those of us who are serious about becoming what God intended us to be.