Intersection of Life and Faith

<< iPod Devotionals, with Dave Burchett

A Better Place

  • 2011 Sep 26

A song from iconic singer Glen Campbell cues up today’s iPod Devotional. You likely know that Campbell is dealing with the slow and irreversible decline of Alzheimer’s disease. Glen and wife Kim decided to go public with the diagnosis to further public awareness.

Glen Campbell recorded
a bittersweet album as his farewell to the public and has begun a final tour. One of the songs from that new release is a very personal and touching lament called “A Better Place”.

I've tried and I have failed, Lord
I've won and I have lost
I've lived and I have loved, Lord
Sometimes, at such a cost

When you know a little bit of Campbell’s story you know the truth of that lyric. He has lived through failed marriages and an ugly hit and run driving incident while intoxicated. Earlier he had battled and recovered from drug addiction. The lyric continues.

Some days I'm so confused, Lord
My past gets in my way
I need the ones I love, Lord
More and more each day

You don’t have to be facing Glen Campbell’s diagnosis to resonate with those words. Campbell has reaffirmed his faith in recent years. Some might question his faith as they review his life and self-admitted failures. I choose to look through the lens of grace. All of us who follow Jesus are saints who still sometimes sin. Sometimes we sin boldly. All of us need the restorative grace of Jesus and the ones we love, as Campbell sings, more and more each day. The chorus is tender and true.

One thing I know
The world's been good to me
A better place,
Awaits you'll see

I believe that with all of my heart. I pray that Glen Campbell will have many good days ahead before this dreaded disease wins out. Perhaps a fitting tribute to his career would be for all of us to live out the lyrics of his hit song “Try a Little Kindness”.

If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he's sowed
And if you see your sister falling by the way
Just stop and stay you're going the wrong way

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you'll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

Put on your lens of grace as you deal with others. God accepted me when I was unacceptable. Lord help me to have the grace to accept others even when their behavior may make that task difficult. We have a hard time with that, don’t we? We keep score and are quick to point out failure to justify our lack of acceptance. Paul addressed such behavior to the Ephesians.

But that isn’t what you learned about Christ.  Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him,  throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.  Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil….

And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.  (Ephesians 4,  NLT)

And yes, I know that I may get burned by that approach. But if I am to err I pray that I will err on the side of grace. Don’t give up hope. We need to give others (and maybe ourselves) the grace to try a little kindness when others are down and out. We all need grace and belief that there is a better place.


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