It is almost 1:00 in the morning. I am awakened. Thoughts of the year are running through my mind. As I am thinking on the past year as it comes to a close, I thank God it is almost over. I reflect on my life and wonder if I would have opted out of the walk I am on now if I had known what lay ahead of me. The New Year is upon us and thoughts trail back to my past celebrations…
I recall the days of getting all dressed up on New Year’s Eve. I would have something special or new to wear. I would have my hair done. I would be going out on the town to a fancy meal, dancing, getting drunk and singing Auld Lang Syne, never knowing why I was singing it. One year I watched When Harry Met Sally and they explained the words in the song at the New Year’s Eve party. I still wondered why in the world people picked that song to reflect back on the past year and all that it had encompassed. It reminded me of how I thought my traditional life in the church had been. Why had I almost worked myself to literal death? What was it for? Did I really know? Did I really understand fully why I was doing what I was doing? At the time you would have thought that I alone was the only one capable of bringing God into any given situation at this particular church body. I literally tried to work myself to death in order to please God and the people I was around. (I think it was the people first, and God came in second.)
I reflect over the past eight to ten years and see how God used traditions to teach, train and develop me in my character and helping me get my flesh under control. He used traditions to heal me of past hurts and pains of the abortions I have had by having me reach out and help the children in Sunday school in most ways imaginable. He used traditional church to show me the lack of heavenly things in a local body so He, in turn, could use me to train, teach and help people “just like me” on how to enter the “rest” of the Lord that the Bible teaches we can have. I have learned that it only comes through diligence, obedience and having a teachable spirit within. It doesn’t come by just sitting in a church pew week after week being lulled to sleep by the traditions of man.
I have witnessed firsthand how some people will continually seek the truth and never come to knowledge of the living Christ, by trying to work their way to Heaven and God’s graces…when it is free all along. I see people who have never changed. Whether it is by destiny, hardheadedness or being just plain lazy, they never seem to embark on the fullness that the Cross of Christ provides.
As I reflect, I have come to the conclusion that God is so much bigger and more mysterious than I ever, ever knew. So many times I have put and kept Him in a box that He was screaming to get out of. I am convinced more than I ever have been that I will never know fully the scope of what He has for us as His children, yet somehow, I still want to strive to become more like Him, knowing I really never will.
Then quite by chance I took my mother to a benefit concert this past month. The concert was being held to aid a mission outreach I had originally begun at this particular church. I started this outreach as I was being taught, purged and tweaked for the Master’s use. When something is “a God thing” it will have staying power. That is why this mission outreach continues year after year. It was good to see that my labors had not been in vain….of course God knew that all along…
I reflected on the fact that I am not in control and thank God that God is. I have learned to finally let others find their own way. I can’t do it for them. It is my job to do what I am called to do by putting the truth before them and then the rest is up to them. There is an old saying of “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” That saying holds true today for the Gospel.
It has been a very hard year. The warfare has been second to none. Had I known what lay ahead of me last year, I might have opted out and preferred that someone else carry the burden of just plain telling the truth and calling a “spade a spade.” But once again, I reflect and see that God made me the way He did because He knew I would never quit and I wouldn’t give up…..no matter what…no matter what. No one will ever know the depths of warfare I have endured just so God’s children could get the truth. Believe me, this is straight from the horse’s mouth.
So as the New Year begins, I urge you to sit and reflect on this past year. Look at where you have come from, look at where you are, and take a good hard look at where you want to go. I assure you that nothing is impossible if you believe, nothing will be impossible for you, and you shall receive whatever is the Father’s will…..but you have to make sure it is the Father’s will.
God is merciful, kind, loving and ready to give you what you want, but He requires you give Him yourself first… there are no exceptions. So as we journey down another year, remember that you are not in control, no matter how much you think you are. There are some, to be certain, who don’t want to be in control. There are others who will strive against themselves and never come to a knowledge of their Father in Heaven…I find that so sad…so very sad. It is His love alone that has healed me from years of torment. It is that love alone that needs now, more than ever, to be conveyed to hurting people.
God has called me to rise and declare the tangible works of the Father as I embark upon another year.
God bless you and may you have a good new year,