It’s New Year’s Day…. I lay in bed this morning contemplating life. A friend had thrown out a game on Facebook….. write one word that describes your thoughts as you move into the new year. I didn’t play. But I thought a lot about it. I thought about the words that others put down, and I wondered what had taken place in the course of their previous year that made them write words like: “stressful” or “hard” or “hopeful” or “decent” or “miraculous” or “provision” or “chaos” or “grateful”? And I contemplated what my word would be…. could it even be relegated to only one word?
I lay there thinking about my Mother….. thinking about her life. My birthday is coming up in a week and I was wondering what her life would’ve been like those 66 years ago…. I’m thinking it might’ve been a combination of all those words. She was about to give birth, she already had a 4 year old, they lived on a Naval base, she was going to have to catch a ferry over to the hospital when it was “time”, they lived in Maryland, it was winter and no doubt frigid cold. What was life like for her? And then I pondered what her life was like in general…. in it’s entirety. She’s been gone now for 14 years. And it occurred to me, does any of it really matter now….. the stressful, the hopeful, the hard, the decent, whatever.… what does any of it really matter, once it’s over, …..apart from Jesus.
I recently read the book of Job, and as he contemplated his life, at one point he “cursed the day of his birth” (Job 3) “Let the day perish on which I was born….” He closed that chapter up, saying in v.25-26 “For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, I have no rest, but trouble comes.”
Perhaps we all aspire to a life of ease, a life where no trouble comes. And if this is not the life we’re experiencing, perhaps we, too, might wonder why we were even born…. was I born for this? Seriously?
Our pastor preached a New Year’s Eve sermon yesterday from Deuteronomy 11 (Boone Trail sermons) And at the close, when we were actually fixing to stand for the last song, my “one word” jumped up at me…. CARE.
At the end of chapter 11, Moses tells his people in v.21-22 “For you are to cross over the Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you. And when you possess it and live in it, you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the rules that I am setting before you today.”
I think about our lives…. our lives that lack ease yet ooze trouble. And I think about how God didn’t just throw us out into this world, saying “good luck with all that”! But instead He had a plan and He orchestrated an entire book of truth that unveils the mysteries, reveals the truth, and sets the standard for a life that matters.
And in this Book, yesterday He spoke to me from it’s pages regarding how to have a life that matters…..
I would encourage you to read all of Deuteronomy 11, but here are a few of my “take-aways” as I reflect on an old year that has ended and a new year that has begun….
- v. 7 For your eyes have seen all the great work of the Lord that He did.
Ponderment is a good thing. All of life is NOT trouble and lack of ease. Even in the midst of such, there is so much to remember regarding the great works of the Lord that He has done and is doing. Oh that 2018 be a year of ponderment, a year to remember who God is and to consider the “more” that He’s always up to (Ephesians 3:20-21)
- v.12-13 “a land that the Lord your God cares for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”
It’s practically a reflex…. focusing on what’s amiss. Sometimes I think I must think my “critical nature” is my spiritual gift or something! How easy it is to dwell on the negative. But I do well to remember that the Lord my God CARES for this world. His eyes are ALWAYS on it… from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. Oh that 2018 be a year of my knowing this….. amidst the bad news of 2018 (be it national or personal) may I ponder that “God knows and God cares”.
- v. 16 “Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods, and worship them;”
Take care….. it can happen so easily and so quickly. Satan is the great deceiver who strategizes, knowing our weakness. Take care…. it can happen.
- v.22-23 “For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the Lord your God, walking in all His ways, and holding fast to Him, then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves.”
What awaits in 2018? We none know. But what I do know is that as I am careful to love the Lord my God and walk in His way and hold fast to Him…. HE will drive out and dispossess these things that seem greater and mightier than myself and my ability to deal with them!
So I move into 2018 with v. 32 in the pocket of my mind…. “you shall be careful, Kathy, to do all the statutes and the rules that I am setting before you today”
God cares….. and I’m careful. This is doable.