My Spirit Remains!

All of life has seasons. I have always lived in the north where we enjoy the four seasons. In the Summer time we have the bright sun, the heat, the long evenings and glorious sunsets! But, I also love the time that is approaching, the Autumn with vivid colors and cooler nights. When January rolls around, I’ll live in a Wintry world of white, snow coating the ground, not my favorite time of year. When I tire of ice and cold, I begin to anticipate the renewal of life in the Springtime, the lengthening days, the return of green and the blooming flowers.

My life has entered a new season with the arrival of retirement and these are days of adjustment for me.  I have sorted through memories, given thanks for the ministry God privileged me to live, and wondered what tomorrow will be.  I think back almost a half century to days of being in love, excited about the new life of pastoring, and beginning a family. What a great season that was. Along the way there were wins and losses, successes and failures, births and deaths.

Now what? The Scripture counsels me to anticipate what the Lord will do today.  

In my reflection, I read of the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the exile in Babylon. After many years some of the people of God and their children returned to the ruins and brought the city back to life. Among their projects was the restoration of the Temple. Apparently because they did not have the same wealth and resources, they were not able to recreate the splendor of the Temple that Solomon had built, one that had dazzled the world of the time.

 “Many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders remembered the first Temple, and they wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation.” (Ezra 3:12, NLT)   Haggai adds this explanatory note: “‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD. ‘Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’” (Haggai 2:3-5, NIV)

Are you mourning some past season?
Are there memories of another season that tempt you to think that all the good happened yesterday?  I know that temptation, too. When we are in our 60’s we miss the strength of our 30’s that we took for granted. My friends in their 80’s laugh when I complain saying, “Just wait!”  But, I also love the wisdom that comes with the years.  Maybe you’re approaching mid-life, your house now an ‘empty nest’ and you mourn the loss of that busy life.  Maybe you are, like me, retiring and wondering what life will be when there is no office, no more demands on your time? 

Perhaps for you it is a season of spiritual rebuilding, when your heart has shifted to a new kind of experience of God’s Presence.  You remember the passion and enthusiasm of new faith and want to avoid apathy or stagnation.

The key in all of this is that reminder that God gave to those who mourned the ‘lost glory’ of Solomon’s temple:  “my Spirit remains among you.”  God is always present, always at work. We change, He is eternal.   I note that the Word did not ask them to ignore the obvious.  It was true that the new temple was not of the same outward splendor as the old.  Life may not have the same excitement at times, but there is a glory to be found in Him.

Today, this retired pastor is remembering with thankfulness, anticipating the new with faith, and praying to continue to walk in the Spirit Who is ever present. Will you let Him find you in your season of life?

Here is a word from the Word that assures us of His work in us, right now, and that gives practical advice for living in His Presence.

“Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”
(Psalm 37:2-6, NIV)

“’For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty. …
 ‘And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’”

_______________

God Is Good All The Time

God is good all the time
He put a song of praise
In this heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night
His light will shine
God is good God is good
All the time

If you’re walkin’ through the valley
And there are shadows all around
Do not fear He will guide you
He will keep you safe and sound
‘Cause He has promised to never leave you
Nor forsake you and His Word is true

We were sinners so unworthy
Still for us He chose to die
Filled us with His Holy Spirit
Now we can stand and testify

That His love is everlasting
And His mercies they will never end
Though I may not understand
All the plans You have for me
My life is in Your hands
And through the eyes of faith
I can clearly see

God is good He’s so good
God is good He’s so good
God is good He’s so good all the time

Don Moen | Paul Overstreet © 1995 Scarlet Moon Music, Inc. (Admin. by ClearBox Rights, LLC)
Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (Admin. by Integrity Music)

CCLI License # 810055

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