Happy New year! This week is a good time to compare our past to our future. There is no straight line from 2022 to Heaven and now we get to live 2023. How great is that? I’m thinking of my friends son, a young father of two, having cancer surgery for Christmas. Not a diversion from a happy life that any of us would elect. We are happy and excited for 2023 but, if you are alive, you know that anything can happen.
So lesson number one might be, WE ARE NOT IN CHARGE. If we are not in charge then who is? The best answer is a loving and faithful God who designed you. There is no promise of every-lasting life here on earth but after earth. That makes my role that of a follower of someone who knows more than me. On my own I will live but might not live to the fullest which includes doing the good works that God has prepared for me and loving people like God does. I have talents I am supposed to use up. It is because of my original design as I am made in the image of God. God does everything well and loves well so I can do those things too.
Since I’ve started counting I need a lesson number two! How about, TRY NOT TO MESS UP. This is only a minor suggestion but if we are not in charge then when the Holy Spirit sounds the alarm in our spirit or in our head that this is not the best choice than make another. This says nothing about forgiveness or the Ten Commandments. Jesus said He would write on our hearts and there is a reason why most cultures have similar norms…certain no no’s like do not commit murder. Jesus wants us to not allow hate to enter our hearts so that we never want to eliminate another life because our enemy is in our way. Try not to mess up.
Lesson number three comes from a recent experience. KEEP YOUR PROMISES. If you say you are going to do something then most people know that they should do that thing. Circumstances change but promises should not. People change but love never changes. “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag, and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails,…” – I Cor 13: 4-8a.
I really wanted to write about love but it is New Years so let’s add another lesson. DO NOT COMPARE YOUR STORY. Again, there is no straight line. We are complex and wonderful. Our brains are working most of the time and only God knows what we are doing with our individual thoughts. There will always be someone taller or shorter, rounder or thinner, smarter or not, honest or not, lost or not, happy or not so much, sick or well, lazy or excited, right handed or left, blue-eyed or green, and the variables go on and on. If you like statistics then it is overwhelming to just predict a simple game. Show up and take what God has given you and live YOUR best life.
OK, let’s end this with a lesson number five. DON’T GIVE UP ON YOU. We like to apply this to other people but you are pretty awesome. I know that no one can do what you can do. Your people, your talents, your mystery, your faith, your peace and joy can make the world better. Only you can do that in your story which is different from my story. Make a plan. Change a plan. Keep moving. Finish the race and please pray for Ryan.