Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Chapters of Life

I recently turned 30. For some reason, it seems that anniversaries of events are more profound when they fall on multiples of 5. I think it has something to do with the digits on the hand; the number 5 has an elemental significance due to the hand's intrinsic importance in our daily functions.

When I was 19 (well there goes that theory!) I attended Aldersgate Bible College, with intent to receive a Bachelor of Theology and move on to enter pastoral ministry. That was radically changed when the college closed down after I had finished my first year.

I was aimless, drifting. The plan I had for my life had been cut off, like a lizard's tail.

Fortunately, like lizard's tails, God can cause new plans to grow. I happened to be flipping through a Focus on the Family magazine and read an article about a group called The Challenge Team. This was a group of young adults who volunteered their time to tour the country and talk in schools and youth groups about chastity, which they defined as a lifestyle of respect for sexuality.

As a Christian, I had always believed in saving the marriage act for, well, marriage, but this was something deeper: these young people had a fuller understanding that I hadn't even realized I was missing. I wrote them a letter inquiring about joining the tour, and they sent me back an application which I filled out and returned.

By that time I was 20 years old (theory back on!). This was in 1995. The closing ceremonies for Aldersgate College were planned for mid-April, and I attended that bittersweet event with plans to drive out east (from Saskatchewan to Ontario; for you Americans, think North Dakota to New York) with a friend from the college who lived near my destination.

That drive was like turning a page in my life; it was my first independent venture away from home, and the start of a whole new direction. At that point I latched on the idea of life containing chapters. There was an almost tangible sense of something ending, and something new beginning.

I'll save the details of the tours I did with the Challenge Team for future posts (including meeting my wife!), but I just wanted to note the concept that there are chapters, or segments, that life can be divided into. I think God designed life that way so it's be easier to digest. Even the ancient Hebrews had chapters; every 7 years things got reset, and every 49 years they celebrated a Jubilee year where the reset went totally wild. Read Leviticus 25 for more info on that.

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