The end of one year–the beginning of the next

31 Dec

Do you have a peaceful place, a place you retreat to for silence, reflection, escape? A man- or she-cave. Soaking in the tub behind a locked door. A place everyone knows not to disturb. Maybe it’s a deserted island only in your imagination.

When I look back over our experiences is 2019, a large part of me cries out, “Thank God that is over.” It was like one storm followed another eroding my island sanctuary away until I found myself standing on a one square foot needle of rock reaching up off the earth. Looking down, I could see what I had lost, but lamenting over it gained me nothing. Only in looking up and declaring it’s only you and me God can anyone find meaning. And that is what God has been after all along.

I’m reminded of the Japanese Lutheran pastor sitting in a prisoner of ward prison at the end of World War II. He knew his fate included a firing squad for treason because he had provided aid to enemy prisoners to ease their suffering. He was okay with that. The torment he faced came from letters he had received from his wife and daughter that last few days. They spoke of American planes flying over dropping pamphlets telling the people to leave the city. The Japanese armies ordering them to stay put. He advised them to do as the pamphlets said. Then the letters stopped. Not knowing their outcome drove him to the brink. He cried out that his life was worse than death. He said he had nothing left. No one to turn to except God. With that, he begged God to forgive him for thinking of Him in such a way. God is not a last resort. He’s first and only.

Jesus prompted me with a word for the year at the beginning of 2019: Come. I began the year rejoicing in that word and found great delight in responding to it. However, several times I had to be reminded in my spirit in the one-foot-square moments what God’s desire was and is in the word He gave me. Like the Lutheran pastor, I had to repent for making my relationship with Him a lower priority and value in my life, thinking I could manage on my own.

I come to the end of 2019 with a challenge, not nostalgia, and a renewed purpose to seek Him and the work He wants to do in and through me in 2020. Like the golden sunlight at the end of the trail in this picture, He awaits with His splendor to share with me.

Photo by Charles Huff

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