…the old year passes, fa la la la la, la la la la. Once I dreamed I was a lad and that hot August afternoons lasted forever. Yesterday, I was a teenager, trying to figure out what to do with my life and who to do it with. A moment ago, I was wed to the most beautiful girl in the world that I had somehow conned into thinking I was going to fulfill her dreams and change the world. In the blink of an eye we graduated from minister school and our life’s work began in earnest. A mere breath ago our children were born and along with them a brand new definition of love, joy, hope and fear. We turned around one day and the last of them had left for college. The past, no matter how dear it may be to us, seems like lightning across the evening summer sky. Fast away time passes, ye lads and lasses.
But really, that’s okay with us, isn’t it? It’s okay because that’s how our God has arranged things. We weren’t built for living in this world, this way, forever. The Bible reminds us that our physical lives are like “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). Moses, the great lawgiver, offers this sage advice based on the brief nature of our physical lives…“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Accepting the truth about the nature of our earthly existence, helps us to “redeem” the time which may yet be given to us. So, I won’t mourn too much for my youth, nor for the leaner, stronger physical body I had then. I do mourn for my many failures, like the failures to be a better son and brother…a better husband and friend…a better father and preacher. But I am entirely unable to alter the failures of my past. John R. Rice said, “No matter what a man’s past may have been, his future is spotless.” I can’t go back and change my yesterday, but I can begin today to make a better tomorrow. I ought to learn lessons from the past, but I ought not to allow failure, disappointment and the regret and sorrow over all of that cost me one iota of progress today. I hope to learn from the past, without wallowing in my many failures there. The Bible says, though it may seem too wonderful for us to believe, that our God is able to “restore the years the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25). Only God can perform such wonders. So don’t give up! I can be a better son and brother now…a better husband and friend…a better father, grandfather and preacher beginning right now. And by God’s grace, I shall be. That’s my new year’s resolution. Will you join me in a similar commitment?
Dear Father, Help us to be completely dissatisfied with anything less than Yourself. Help us to want nothing more than we want You. May our souls yearn, even faint, for your courts, dear God. May our hearts and our very flesh cry out for You, our living God. May we look for Your Hand and Your will in all the events and relationships of our lives. And if we dare ask, may we please, please, be allowed to feel Your pleasure in us…Your delight over us. This is almost too much for us to believe possible, Lord. And yet You tell us You feel this way about us. Glory to You, O God! One day with You is worth more than a thousand anywhere else. If we didn’t know that You inhabit the future, we would be so afraid. So help us to look for You there…to live for You there…to love You there and then as well as here and now. We must have you, dear Father, for failing in this, we fail in all. Be ours! There can be no gift from You that compares with the gift of You. In Jesus’ Name. Let it be.
A very blessed New Year to all of you!