PERSPECTIVE: Reality is better
As many of you know, I spend a lot of hours on the road. The windshield time gives me ample opportunity to think, pray and daydream. Daydreaming is an art that I developed as a schoolboy. Sitting in class, I would look out the window and dream about what it would be like to be outside playing with my friends rather than listening to my teacher.
Some of my daydreaming experiences centered on “what if” thoughts. No doubt, you have also spent time in the land of “what ifs.”
What if I had been born in a village in Africa? As an adult, I have walked through those villages filled with mud huts, empty grain bins and abject poverty. Health care and sanitation are daydreams for most who live there.
What if I had been born to a family in the Land of Lottie? There, access to the Gospel is hard won, and many spend a lifetime never hearing the name of Jesus. In many places poverty rules, and residents are always under the watchful eye of the government. But what if I had been born there and called to preach? Would I have been thrown into prison for 20 years for preaching the Gospel, as one pastor I met?
What if I had been born into a rich family in Europe? Sounds good, doesn’t it? But in the secular culture I have seen there, I could have experienced “fatness to my bones and leanness to my soul.” I could have lived in a big house surrounded by pristine beauty, but lived without ever encountering the true Gospel.
None of those scenarios is reality.
In fact, I was born to Aden and Norma in a small Oklahoma town. Financially, we were probably lower middle class—but I lived with first-class parents in a first-class family. Love flowed freely. Sometimes, that love was expressed in simple ways, but it was always abundant. I even had the privilege of experiencing love at the end of a switch quickly carved from a elm tree. Many children today know nothing of the unmeasured love of discipline provided through this form of corporal punishment.
Most importantly, I was born into a family that walked with Jesus. We were in church every time the doors were open. Our faith was not a religion, but a living faith. The Bible was a cherished book to be read and memorized. Gospel music filled our home, and the church was the center of our lives.
I am glad that daydreaming provides only a virtual tour by the mind. I have so much for which to be thankful. My heart is full when I think of God’s goodness in my life—born in America, loving family, Gospel filled environment, married to a remarkable lady and given two awesome kids. And there is more! I was called by my Lord to preach His Word and to lead Oklahoma Baptists. Wow! I am blessed. Don’t think I want to daydream any more. Reality is better!
Anthony L. Jordan is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.