Thursday, February 10, 2011

Don’t be afraid to live

Genesis 46:1-4 (NIV): "So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, "Jacob! Jacob!" "Here I am," he replied. "I am God, the God of your father," he said. "Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph's own hand will close your eyes."

My great nephew, AJ is the strapping, hard working teenage son of Western Wisconsin dairy farmers. He wants to play football and basketball. AJ has a heart defect; his problem was discovered in his early teens. Doctors, concerned about his heart valve, have recommended a “wait and see” attitude at this time. Recommendations have been made that he cool it as it were. You can work, but not too hard; you can play, but not too hard. Doctors and parents are cautious and AJ is getting frustrated.

We live in an age where we work very hard to minimize risks in our lives. I understand the common sense business portion of this but what has it gotten us--frustrated and sometimes timid people. In AJ’s case, you are only a teenager once and life is passing by. AJ’s Mom and Dad struggle with the everyday choices presented to them. How does one live a life under these conditions?

AJ has a problem, the blood that runs through his veins has come from a long line of hard working Austrian-German-Bohemian risk takers. Farmers, businessmen, soldiers, teachers, fighters all. How do you tell him to cool it? You don’t.

Life is a risk. AJ must live it; he lives his life with a smile. The “Big Hitter,” known as AJ, works the fields and barns of Western Wisconsin with a confidence and vibrancy beyond his years. A young man with a helping spirit, he must live life; we only go around once. He is an American, he lives with his boots on, and if it’s God’s will, he could die with his boots on, enjoying his young life to the fullest.

Oh, the world may criticize his and his parents’ decision on how to live his life. Don’t second guess them, it is not our life or our duty. It’s great to see some of this American generation take risks and live life with a vigor and zest seldom seen today.

Like Jacob, AJ may be afraid; don’t be--God is with you. One of the greatest lessons in life to be learned is this, you can only really live when you are not afraid to die. AJ, go to your Egypt--don’t be afraid because your God said He would be with us and He is. Go!

President Theodore Roosevelt said this, "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

To God be the glory. Dare greatly and don’t look back.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jerry for the wonderful piece on my son! It was a joy to read and I will cherish it forever.
It is a hard choice to make.