“Alexa, play the Frank Sinatra station.”
Alexa’s my Amazon speaker-thingy. You just tell it what you want to hear, and it provides the soundtrack for your life! This morning, I felt like some old standards. This is what I got:
And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
Listening, I thought to myself, “this is such a good song. An old classic. Well written, and ole Blue Eyes really knows how to belt it out.”
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
The words to the song, I just looked them up, were written by Paul Anka. But the philosophy of life clearly belongs to that of the Chairman of the Board.
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way
The song is about a man, near the end of his life, looking back with pride. Every time life got tough, he made his own uncompromising decisions. He did it “My Way”.
For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way
It was at this point that I decided to write this devotion. Did you notice that this song is seriously missing something? There’s no leaning on God. No leaning on others. There’s no collaboration, no love. There’s only a man standing tall.
And you know what? That’s not enough.
I know lots of people who have graduated from the Frank Sinatra school of hard knocks. They learned to keep their own interests front and center. They learned not to trust others or accept much help. They learned to be strong and determined and single-minded. They aim to be King of the Hill, A-Number One, and they aim to do it “My Way”. But they don’t learn to trust in God’s way, and that means missing out on the greatest experience of life.
It’s a tricky thing, putting your faith in God’s hands, especially when the world keeps telling you to go it alone. Even long-term Christians can struggle with this.
I went hunting for “my way” quotes from scripture. Here are 4 that I found from the Psalms:
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. –Psalm 18:32
I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. –Psalm 119:59
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. –Psalm 139:3
When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. –Psalm 142:3
Apparently there’s room for both “My Way” and God’s Way. That balance between God’s sovereignty and Human agency is a mysterious one — humans have been asking about that theological question since day one. I’m apt to think that we can be strong people of integrity who are guided in our steps, hearts, and minds by a loving God. We can have it both ways.
When I get to the point in my life when I say, “And now the end is near…” I hope I sing a very different song about my life. One filled with lots of harmony and inspiration and love, one that reminds me that if I keep God in my life…
I’ll never walk alone.
Have a great week,