My Dad’s favorite scripture was Jeremiah 12:5, “If thou hast run with the footmen and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, where in thou trusted, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of the Jordan?”
This is my first birthday without him.
I’m twenty-five today, and I feel unaccomplished. What do I have to show for my twenty-five years of life? Some credit card debt, a couple college degrees, anxiety. I’ve asked around: when does it go away? At what point does your crisis of confidence come to a close, and you suddenly feel like everything makes sense.
You don’t. That’s what I’ve gotten back. You don’t, but you keep going anyway. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. And have faith in the path you’re on.
I want to ask my Dad.
I don’t expect he would have the answers. I don’t even expect he would respond with untapped wisdom. I’m pretty sure he’d just say, “You’re doing great. You’ve done so much more than I ever did. I’m proud of you.” And I would think he was missing the point.
The best that I have of my Dad is memories and the words he loved so much.
If you have run with the footmen and they have wearied you, then how will you contend with horses.
My Dad taught me to be strong and to be unapologetically confident. It’s not always easy.
And if in the land of peace in which you trusted they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan.
He also taught me to have faith. That what is for me is for me if I just do my part. That if I go after what I love I’ll be successful in whatever I do. That I shouldn’t worry about pleasing him, and I should always put my passions before my parent’s expectations.
I sometimes think he had too much faith in me.
It’s my 25th birthday, and I can’t learn from my Dad anymore. So what is there to learn from the words that he loved:
In Jeremiah 12:5, God — speaking to Jeremiah — seems to say, It’s going to get much harder and you need to be ready for it. The same God who says to the same Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”(Jeremiah 1:5)
I don’t know what twenty-five has in store for me. While I hope this year is a high-note, and I learn to be content in my journey, it might get harder. Even so, I will take heart in the words my father held so close to his heart:
Formed by the hands of God, set apart for such a time as this, on a journey ordained by the Lord. Stop complaining and start getting ready. This is a long life to live, so you need endurance.
So, Happy Birthday to Me. Let’s pray the best is yet to come.