Welcome to 2012

Posted on January 4, 2012 by

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I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s Celebration. We took a short break last week at Leadership42day and are back for the 2012 season.

Many people at this time of the year set new goals, make resolutions of personal improvement, join a health club (which they will use 3 times during the year), and commit to ending bad habits. The new year seems to serve as a trigger to reminder us of who we are, who we are not, and what we want to become. Many of us will reflect over the past year and thank God for his faithfulness and sustaining power in our lives. For some it is a reflection filled with great accomplishments and success while others have experienced tragedy, sadness, and despair.

This last year has been filled with a wide range of emotion for me. I have watched kids come to faith in Christ. I have seen staff renewed in their calling and walk with Jesus. I was able to watch one of my first club kids from Buffalo, Nathan Gunn, speak at Saranac and proclaim the Gospel. I have watched God move powerfully in the ministry of YoungLives that my wife leads in Charlottesville. I have had times of great encouragement.

I have also clung ever so closely to Jesus as my daughter wavered near death in the hospital. I have wept as she was on a feeding tube for over 2 months and was unable to speak, walk, or talk. I have had to answer my son, Cooper, when he asked, “Is Ashley going to die?” Thomas Paine wrote in December of 1776 in the opening of his series The American Crisis, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” This last year has been that for me. While the outside story was about Ashley and her struggle, the inside story has been one of asking tough questions and not always getting answers.

Christopher Wright writes in his book The God I don’t Understand (which I highly recommend) that in struggles we all to often ask the question “why?” We tend to look for answers for why things happen.  Why did this happen? What did I do wrong? How could I have prevented this? Wright notes that the recurring question in the Old Testament wasn’t so much “why,” but rather “how long?” While I don’t have the answer to how long your or my sufferings will be, I do know that asking “how long?” comes from a different posture than asking “why?” One acknowledges the presence and hand of God in the midst of the trial. The other questions God’s very nature.

     Where has God been in a very difficult year?……Right in the midst of it.
     Where will he be this next year?……Right in the midst of it.
     How long?…..I don’t know, but he is in the midst of it…and that is enough.

Looking into this new year full of resolutions and great intentions, unaware of what lies ahead, let me encourage us to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

     Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
     See I am doing a new thing!
     Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
     I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wilderness 
                                                                                        Isaiah 49:18-19

Let us not dwell on past failures or struggles. He is doing a new thing in us and around us. He wants to breathe new life into the desert and wilderness of our souls. Draw near to him. He is enough.

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