..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas, 2020

It's hard to believe that we are at the end of 2020.  Whoever we were at the beginning of it, we are not that at the end of it. What we have done with it, and will do with it, is up to us. It's been a year to see what we are made of. Does our faith go down deep into our roots or is it just good enough for fair winds? Is God who we saw Him to be last year or have we discovered that He is quite a bit wilder and less predictable than the cliched boxes we have put Him in?

The  biblical prophets, the true ones anyway, lived with and before a God who was afire with love, with justice,  with mercy and truth.  Their encounters with Him left them speechless but transformed. God's purposes are always what they have been: to show Himself the Father of a people who would reflect His Glory.  The amazing and hard part, even for God, was that He gave people free choice, and with that, inevitably, came choices both good and bad. Realize, dear one, that your ability to choose is something holy, it is something that you yourself possess as a gift from God and with it, you will, by your choices, determine your destiny.  Of course God is sovereign but He has offered you a choice when you came into being. Choose well.  

This year showed us that earthly life can be shorter than we think and more out of our control than we hoped.  Eternal life is what we all are really about and so we should be looking in that direction, looking for what is to come and what it will be like. We have to decide if we like that and want to live forever under the direction of One in whom there is no darkness nor shadow of turning.  It is a fearsome choice. But how do I choose? pray the sinner's prayer? live an austere life? do good works? none of these completely suffice. 

God is looking for relationship with us. He is looking for us to be deeply united with Him, even one with Him--to see His goodness and His good purposes and to work with Him to accomplish them. My life is not about doing more, or feeling I've succeeded or whatever goal the world tries to put on us, my goal is to be more and more connected to Christ and know what absolute safety that Love is all about.  What if you were always jumping with a safety net? What if nothing separated us from God if we didnt want it to? The Apostle Paul said , ""For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39).

Again and again I have seen that our union with God begins with surrender--not as a threatened knave, but as a free agent who can only unite with God by choice and compatibility. Our sense of aloneness stems from our unawareness of what blissful unity is possible with our Creator, and even with His people. What if we were safe? What if when Jesus said that He keeps all that have been given unto Him and no one can snatch them from His Hands that that was true? (John 10:28). What if you were free to be a child of God and to live from that protected place in the hand of God?  There is the old expression, "safer than being tucked into God's pocket with the flap tucked down" --what if we were that safe, even if darkness raged against us and appeared to win? 

There are, no doubt, more life storms out ahead of us. But let us put them to work for us, so that we are able to run our race with great faith and confidence in the One who keeps us safe even if our bodies fail. Each minute, in good times and bad, I am making decisions that affect my eternity. Look at the choices with adventure and curiosity and not fear! Choose well and choose wisely, dear ones! Surrender more and fear less! Godspeed!

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