Here we are, dangling between the old and new years.
How are you doing?
For some, it will feel like a lovely display of tested faith hanging in surrendered gratitude for each day of the preceding months clothed with a quiet readiness for whatever is to come. It has been a year of acceptance and integration, of hope evergreen in the deepening of prayer, of sending down more roots into the love of God who is always there, our source of life in every adjustment to changing seasons. Troubles which needle and prick have been coated in the falling grace of cooling rains … and peace is gained as we stand still and know that he is God.
Making the most of every day, we rejoice!
For others, looking back across the year may feel more like revisiting an icy numbness settling on our souls having been caught on fragile limbs coated with the freezing rains of limitations weighing us down and impeding our limited understanding of freedom in Christ. Each isolated moment of the past has frozen onto single brittle branches of uncertain release from the discomforts of standing still in situations which cause us pain and suspend our sense of well-being.
We may feel stuck.
Breaking the most resilient heart when bleak scenes of grey and misty drizzle fall into our lives and ministries freeze in fear, we may find ourselves dangling in the angry noise of destructive conditions where once supple branches crash to the ground and the old and new year is clearly marked with unsought for change under loads of care. Or, perhaps we silently withdraw into the shadows of subdued sadness with concerns not yet brought under the heat of his inner flame to warm us in the coldest onslaught of wintry weather where one year slips into the next with uncomfortable realities unchanged.
The in-between can be a difficult place to be, but it can also be the place where waiting hearts positioned in praise may let his gospel story impact ours as never before. The lush greens of our first love for him and desire to serve can be empowered by the Spirit to ride out the storms as do the mighty firs abiding as beacons of hope when ice pellets fall.
It’s easy to miss the beauty of grace against an otherwise barren starkness, to dangle in duty without leaning on him as the light in the darkness, to stop moving forward and deeper and stronger in the stands of our call when freezing rain falls and makes the way treacherous.
But release from this negative hold is also as easy and hard as recognizing that we are held in the crystallized purity of his love preparing us to bear whatever is sent our way and enabling us to see his presence in the present moment.
What if inclement weather comes to slow us down to pause in contemplative awe?
What if it shows us how to cause the redemptive story to speak into our hardest places?
‘Lord, melt away all sadness and fear in the message that you are with us all through the year. Each day, each moment, each year we dangle between the past and the future with choices of trust. Help us to wait on you, coated in love to warm the world with displays of hope. Amen.’
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are not grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, through there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.” (Habakkuk 3:3)
What may first appear to us as lifeless and grey will yet sparkle as precious silver when the sun shines. The scene will look completely new where trusting joy takes up residence alongside every grief in the knowledge that his sovereignty extends to every day ahead. Relief, right where we dangle.
I am his and he is mine. We are his and he is ours, never alone.
A blessed New Year to each one of you!