Happy New Year!

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2015! We made it to another New Year and we greet it with excitement and enthusiasm, even writing resolutions to inspire us to better health and productivity.

Ugh!

Honestly, right now, I’m not looking forward to 2015.

As a matter of fact, I’m dreading 2015, and yes even concerned (that’s Christian for ‘very worried’).

It’s not that 2014 was a horrible year for my extended family and me, but it came with unanticipated difficulties and challenges, some of which I’m still baffled how best to navigate. For instance:

  • A few health issues surfaced in our family that are still worrisome, and a considerable drain on the finances;
  • Both of my sons are now in college – at the same time! Enough said.
  • I’m still bewildered by the deafening silence I encounter with several prayer requests;
  • My present job, while I’m thankful because it pays bills, and I love working there with the team, it is neither my chosen career nor my passion, and unfortunately I see no change on the horizon.

Can you relate? I have a feeling I’m not alone. Please know these aren’t gripes or complaints but merely honest reflections that were disconcerting to me as the New Year dawned last Wednesday night. I want to be excited about 2015, I want to be enthusiastic about all that God has planned in the New Year, but I’m still stuck in the muck of unresolved issues from 2014.

As a comparison, in the aviation world I guess you could say I feel like an airplane, built to soar and fly to appointed destinations, but I’m incessantly taxiing on a runway that never seems to end!

What’s a troubled and ‘taxiing’ soul to do? Turn to Scriptures.

Two passages encouraged me as I was praying and meditating after ringing in the New Year. First James 4:14 (which we have been doing a sporadic study of at this blog, and will continue in the New Year – join us!!):

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (NIV)

In the context of James’ letter, he is addressing businessmen who are making all kinds of plans regarding tomorrow with the goal of reaping huge profits. James coolly reminds them:

  • No one can predict what will happen tomorrow, so why try predicting and worse worrying about it?
  • In the great scheme of things, never forget your life here is like a “mist”, or the “morning dew”, which appears for a moment, and then disappears.

I believe James’ point can be summed up this way: the quintessential question is not what are you going to do tomorrow, but what will you do today! If we spent more time on that question, surely it would make our todays more productive and we’d have less time to waste predicting and worrying about tomorrow!

Lastly, I turned to one of my favorite prophets Jeremiah, coincidentally dubbed the “Weeping Prophet” for various reasons. Read Jeremiah 18:1-4:

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:“Go down at once to the potter’s house; there I will reveal My words to you. ”So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working away at the wheel. But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.” (HCSB)

Three things in this passage encouraged me:

  • It assures me God has a plan and a purpose for all things;
  • Redemption is possible even when we become “flawed”;
  • Who am I to argue with the Potter? Isn’t it better and more productive to simply strive to live the life the Potter has given me?

So while I’m “concerned” about the New Year, I am:

  • Thrilled to have another day of life!
  • Grateful for my family, friends, and those I work with, and the opportunity to love and serve them today!
  • Hopeful for the privilege of prayer, and asking God for the desires of my heart as they, and I, align according to His will.
  • Anticipating and preparing to “take off’ and soar as God ‘pilots’ the course of my life.
  • Deciding to stop arguing with the “Potter” and demanding to understand everything that happens, and just obediently live the life he has prepared for me today.

Maybe all of that is part of the process of taking off. It sure beats the alternative – endless taxiing! That’s why my overall goal for 2015 is what missionary David Brainerd asserted many years ago: “God let me make a difference for you that is utterly disproportionate to who I am.”

Happy New Year!

RA