So, here we are at the beginning of 2022. Most of us thought that the pandemic mess would be behind us after nearly two years. Surprise! We are in the middle of an outbreak of a new variant, coping with yet more uncertainty.
This tiny virus keeps on reminding me of our tenuous grasp on life. Sickness and death seem to find people quite randomly, shattering any illusions I might have about my mastery of fate. Yes, it’s personal for me. I have lost too many friends and prayed long and hard for many more. I can hear your thought about now. “Jerry, I thought that CoffeeBreak is about encouraging us?” Yes, friend, it is!
The reality about our existence is one that the ancient Psalm attributed to Moses declares:
“You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust!” For you, a thousand years are as yesterday! They are like a few hours! You sweep people away like dreams that disappear or like grass that springs up in the morning. In the morning it blooms and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered.” (Psalm 90:3-6, NLT)
Grim? Perhaps, but living with the knowledge of the brevity of life can help us to gain focus. That same Psalm continues with this prayer: “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom. … Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.” (Psalm 90:12-14, NLT)
God invites us to real life, to live with peace and hope, in spite of the state of the world in which we are living.
Jesus speaks! “I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:25-33, NIV)
Here in the opening days of a New Year, His familiar words challenge me, again, to refocus on what matters, on what cannot be taken from me by the winds of change that blow through my life.
Will you receive those words with faith?
Will you pray, as I have, to find a secure anchor for your life in the eternal promise of God?
God says that our soul can be secured by Him and that we can find a life that is richer in joy, one that finds meaning.
How? It is more than the money we acquire, more than the pleasures we enjoy, more than the moments of happiness that we find. Jesus invites us to live in His kingdom and righteousness. What does that mean? We surrender ourselves to Him, humbly acknowledging that He is in charge, that He directs us, that we live to serve His purposes. Given our cultural love of independence, it is difficult for us to accept that peace and fulfillment can be found in submission to Him. Will we pray, as He did, “Lord, not MY will, but Yours be done?” And He invites us to receive the gift of a right relationship with God that leads us to live as the people of God. What a key part of knowing the life God intends for us. We need not dread Him, or hide from Him, or work endlessly at ‘proving’ that we are good enough. He provides us with a gift of grace, acceptance with Him that is beyond our merit or purchase! Put on the Righteousness of Christ. Secure in Him even death itself loses its terrors.
Reset. Refocus. Refuse the angst so common in the world at the dawn of 2022. Instead, choose life in Christ.
The word from the Word is a reminder, a little phrase that I pray will find a place in your mind today and for the rest of the coming year. “If we endure, we will also reign with Him.” (2 Timothy 2:12, NIV)
Lord, steady us, help us to seek You above all else that we may live in hope and know Your peace. Amen.
(Video of this blog at this link)
Be Thou My Vision (Slane)
(Selah sings this beautiful, heart-felt prayer. Pray along with their song)
Be Thou my vision
O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me
Save that Thou art
Thou my best thought
By day or by night
Waking or sleeping
Thy presence my light
Be Thou my wisdom
Be Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee
And Thou with me Lord
Thou my great Father
I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling
And I with Thee one
High King of heaven
When vict’ry is won
May I reach heaven’s joys
O bright heaven’s Sun
Heart of my own heart
Still be my vision
O Ruler of all
Eleanor Henrietta Hull | Mary Elizabeth Byrne
© Words: Public Domain