I’m feeling philosophical. The dawning of a new year always does that to me. Some people party. I reflect. I think about what is right and true. I try to put it all in the proper perspective. Granted, it’s terribly boring of me. But I just can’t help myself.
I feel like 2009 is upon us like looming waves in a storm-tossed sea. The storm had been gathering for years. Those who watch with a wary eye for such things were not surprised by it. But most were. The fury and intensity of the storm has been remarkable. It is not a typical storm. It is what they call a perfect storm.
So here we are standing on the bow of the rolling ship, in pitch blackness, gripping the handrails, staring ahead, straining to see what is coming, bracing for the unknown. How big will the next wall of water that crashes on us be? Will we be able to hold tight? Will the ship stay together?
Stanzas from Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald” are playing in my head. A clever person could rewrite the words and rename the song, “The Wreck of the American Economy” or even, “The Wreck of The American Dream” (but please don’t change the tune).
Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?That portion of the song always leads me to pause, and then answer: “The love of God doesn’t go anywhere. It’s always there. Right in front of you. It’s right there for you. Can’t you see it?”
Many do, but many more do not. They are blind to it. And as a result, they cannot understand that with God’s love comes His mercy and the wonders of His grace, which are far, far bigger than any storm life throws our way, even the perfect storm. It is His grace that brings peace and hope in the midst of chaos, confusion, and uncertainty.
I dare say that obedience brings peace too. Obedience to God’s word, to His law—obedience that comes from wisdom and understanding, which leads us right back to His grace.
Indeed, it was through obedience that the fullest expression of God’s love was manifest towards us. Jesus, the son of God, God incarnate, willingly went to the cross and bore the sins of those who follow Him. This was done in obedience to the Father, and out of Christ’s love for us. That is the most amazing story in the universe. Oh, that more people would understand it, and embrace it, and know it for themselves.
Many in this world wonder where the love of God goes when tragedy of any kind comes to seemingly innocent people. For example, how can God be loving when little children die from terrible sicknesses or brutal actions? This apparent conundrum stands as a stumbling block to some people’s faith. It seems to them that God is unjust.
Sadly, such people fail to fully understand the cross of Christ. Right there, on the cross, is injustice for you! There was the greatest injustice. Right there was the only injustice there has ever been in the history of the world.
Everyone else, because of sin, is guilty. Everyone else deserves to die. Jesus didn’t deserve it. The love of God hung on the cross. God Himself hung on the cross. People who find fault with God because of perceived injustices in the world are missing the whole amazing story of their wretched spiritual state and God’s love towards them.
Some people need to be significantly humbled by God in order to know Him better and see His love for them. Few things can humble us like the loss of earthly treasures and earthly confidences. I know this from personal experience. In retrospect, I’m thankful for that experience. Being humbled by God is hard. But, it can be the best thing that ever happened to a person, or a nation.
Whatever the case, I am facing the storm with its crashing waves and ominous implications at the brink of this new year with confidence. I am not confident that earthly institutions and systems of sinful men will survive. I am not confident that I and my family will even survive these earthly storms. But I am confident that my God is absolutely sovereign, and that His plans will come to pass exactly as he desires. I am confident in His love and His grace in my life. No matter the circumstances, God alone is my refuge and my hope in the tribulations that are upon us. He will sustain me until He takes me out of this place, to be with Him. In that faith I stand with confidence and hope.
I wish you, my dear readers, all the fullness of God’s grace in your life as we enter this new year.