“…but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40 v. 31
Usually, the title of this reflection is more common at the end of a year and not so much at the beginning. But for me, the name’s use in the beginning of the year helps me to structure all of what’s to come. This crowning provides opportunities to discern speech, actions, and expressions, rather deeply. It also helps me to know that this crown represents the King—Our Savior Jesus Christ! It reminds me that I must always strive to become like Him as I grow in His Word.
Looking back over the last year, life has changed significantly. My little family is growing, and at this moment, all is well. Though we’ve faced some challenges, my prayer daily is that if more trepidation comes, we can handle every moment with God’s grace. I consistently pray about concerns such as the wellbeing of children and their parents worldwide. I pray about the rising crime in my home country, on the ongoing issues in the United States that cause pain to people who want to live good lives. I recite liturgies for the displaced. I place my hands over my heart for immigrants seeking shelter, care, and unconditional love. For I, too, am an immigrant.
So much of what I pray for—the problems of this world are manufactured. And where has common decency, in some cases, gone? And, I say, “God, let your kingdom come. Let each person recognize your kingdom.” This agony of wonder and praise burns so rapidly in my heart.
The most recent book I read brought my attention more intensely to all the above. It reminded me so much of why I chose to live a life of serenity, sincerity, and simplicity. This same life I bring forth to this New Year.
Two beautifully written paragraphs in this book said this:
“All of us, whatever our age, should learn to live in the light of eternity. As Scripture hints, eternity is not about unending life as we know it; what we know here will soon be over. Eternity is a new life, free of death’s destructive powers, a fullness of life where love rules. The promise of everlasting life has less to do with duration of time and more to do with a certain kind of life – one of peace, fellowship and abundance. Such a life can begin now.” (Arnold, 2013, pg. 148)
“God wants to welcome all of us into his kingdom, but we need to begin working toward that here in our earthly lives. Such an attitude, or way of life, could be called “living before eternity,” where our hearts and minds prepare for the next world, even as we physically exist in this world.” (Arnold, 2013, pg. 148)
These struck me so well.
And I think now of the days to come. Each day arrives with new possibilities. I await them. I consider themes for this journal. Friendships lost and those that can be refreshed. I think of the corporate worship at my church and the new people I continue to know. I focus on the sweet friendships I have nurtured throughout the years. Yes, friendships, which have never been one-sided. I consider my aging parents and discover new ways to foster care for them, even from afar. I plan for my own aging process. And of my sister and how our relationship continues to flourish. I hold all my uncles, aunts, and cousins dearly, some I may not be close to, but a change is coming in this regard. My heart fills up as I embrace the thoughts of so many others as I pray for their optimum wellbeing. With every thought and with every breath, God is working within to produce elements of grace in every word, action, and expression. How fortunate am I to know Him and to be embedded in His guide. How fortunate are you, too!
So, in this New Year, may we appreciate God’s Word as they are. May we come to know their real meaning. May we not spend too much time and energy on things representing Biblical principles that can be found nowhere in the Bible. Because the more we understand, the better a people we become.
I’ll be here next week. I may or may not begin a teaching series then. This thought depends on whether I’ll have another visit from little Nehemiah! She’s here now, and I was able to write this in 20 minutes! Yippee!
We grow together, inside, and out!
Arnold, J.C. (2013). Rich in years. Finding peace and purpose in a long life. Plough Publishing
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.