Monday, July 29, 2013

I'm happy to be with you, here at the end of all things.

I’m excited for the new year. It’s always nice to have a fresh start. A clean slate. Tabula rasa, if you will. I’m not really ever one to make resolutions or anything. It always just kind of feels forced, like we’ve got this arbitrary marker, so we may as well use it for something. 
Yesterday at the church my wife and I attended, the pastor talked about resolutions and how they can simply be based in our idolatry of self. “Half gods,” he talked about as he told the story of Moses, the Israelites, and the golden calf, and summed it up with a C.S. Lewis quote that left to themselves, our “half-gods” either vanish or become devils. 
So, all that to say, I’m not one for resolutions, and the sermon hit the nail on the head why. It just seems so self-serving most of the time, and then we feel guilty when we don’t measure up to these arbitrary goals we’ve set for ourselves or feel some sense of false pride when we do measure up. The real change that happens in our lives isn’t generally produced by arbitrary dates and decisions, but by the work of the Holy Spirit. 
So, I suppose, if anything, my resolution should be to pray for the Spirit to increasingly grow His fruit in me. Jesse DeYoung, the teaching pastor at Flatirons Church posted on his blog that he believes more in reviewing what happened over the course of the previous year. 
This year I learned that seeing the mountains every day just doesn’t get old. That Peyton Manning is as good as ever. That the Rockies are as bad as ever. That churches who practice both grace and truth are rare. That in the face of unspeakable acts of evil, an entire nation can agree that everything is not relative…there really is such a thing as right and wrong. That kids grow up too soon, and our time with them is more important than a TV show (even The Walking Dead). That God is good.
That last thing is such a hard thing to keep in the forefront of my mind and spirit. The past few years have brought some serious hardships in life for my wife and me (health issues and a lot of stuff that’s come with them, moving 1/3 of the way across the country just to come right back. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about it eventually), and we’ve both really struggled with our views of God and how He fits into it all. 
We’ve both spent our adult lives being poured out in youth ministry and music ministry and while we never did it for reward, it would be dishonest to say that we don’t feel let down by God after giving of ourselves to Him for such a time just to feel as though He’s forgotten to answer our prayers. 
We went to an impromptu prayer/worship time with friends on New Year’s night. Got the text that afternoon, saying God was laying it on their heart to meet regarding the upcoming new year and all that that might entail, so we packed up some snacks and headed over. In the course of a pretty emotional prayer time that we’re both still processing, one of my wife’s best friends prayed over us that she had this vision of Lisa and me as Frodo and Sam on the side of Mount Doom, having completed our journey and our task, but having no way to get home and not remembering the taste of strawberries, etc.  As it all burns around us, she saw that the eagles were coming to pick us up. That God’s deliverance was on hand and we should be ready for it. Now, I’m not sure what that means, but from time to time, I have to just sit back and say that’s OK and receive a word for what it is – a picture of God’s faithfulness. That He hasn’t forgotten us, that He hasn’t abandoned us, that He was making a way the whole time. And trust that that’s what we’ll see in this coming year. And that we’ll be stronger for having had the experience, and we can praise Him for how He moves and works, regardless of what we’re seeing at the time.
Originally posted on the BUMC Blog Jan. 7, 2013.

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