It has been a long while, friend, and you’ve been on my mind.
Quietly whispering in the background of a year that has been full and busy for all of us. It is the challenge of life to listen to the whispers; to notice the gentle movement in the corner of our eyes: the finger of God beckoning us to come.
It is the New Year, friend, and 2017 is done. We’ve packed our bags and blown away the dust from our knapsacks and suitcases, our inflatable beds and our sleeping bags. We’ve taken to the trails, to the skies, to the waters to spend time with our loved ones, to escape the busy and to refresh and relax. And now it is January. It certainly feels as though it’s been the New Year for more than a fortnight; to myself at least. Life has picked up once again and there are hot cross buns already on the shelves of our local supermarkets. Emails trickle in and the world is open for trade once more.
Do you feel ready, friend?
Have you had a chance to think about the year behind you…to assess its lessons, to leave behind its baggage, to think about where you would like to go from here? Has that which was broken been reset? Or do you still walk with a limp? Perhaps you’re not walking at all.
I feel a bit like a traveler stepping out from a boat onto new land. The sands are windswept and the trees are lush and un-chartered. I look at the year behind me, aware that I have moved from one land to the next, and yet I’m uncertain of how, exactly, I crossed the ocean. And yet here I am. Someplace entirely different than I started at the beginning of last year.
The land before me looks raw and wonderful. Full of wild fruit and tangled paths waiting to be slashed; I envision sweet new tastes to be discovered; salty waters to bathe in and sunshine to warm me dry. I also see the challenges. Crops to be planted and harvested, dwelling places to be built so that life may be sustained. Of course, there’s always the unpredictable weather; the strange new species. The hard physical labour and the cuts and scrapes and straining of muscles as we seek to inhabit that which, as yet, has been uninhabited.
What will we make of it?
I have good news, friend.
The year is gone; buried at sea. The New Year spreads her arms before you; offering restitution. Forgiveness. New ventures. She will chasten you, refresh you, refine you and make your muscles strong, if you accept her ways. Wisdom awaits, friend.
For the lame, there are healing springs to be found and bathed in.
For the adventurous, there are peaks to be climbed and views to be seen.
For the weary, there are quiet hanging beds woven between the trees; nature’s hammocks to support your weight as you look at the skies and recoup your strength.
Where ever you may find yourself on the shores of the year ahead, I pray that it is with the quiet confidence that you can recognise that although we may be small, we have been planted by a Large God. Our hearts can be secure, knowing that it is He who moves us to our desired haven. We, do not always know which way we ought to tread. Sometimes we think we know the way but there is some unseen obstacle. Some darkness waiting to snatch our view. Thank the Lord that the light always wins. Shadows recede and vision is restored by the Light of His presence.
As I listen to the wind this morning, moving through the trees; it is unapologetic.
Gentle yet certain, it whispers today and I see it’s path in the swaying of leaves. Did you know that the Lord speaks of His Spirit as the wind? We do not know where it comes from or where it goes, and yet there it is. Did you know that the wind blows through the deserts in distant lands in such a way that men used to raise their swords to it? It came as a wall of hot sand, as a thunder of hooves and even the mighty were afraid.
May the year ahead find your doors and windows open. May His spirit blow through; quiet as a feather, sweeping away what has been; may He come as a mighty wind with tongues of fire to lick up all that is unholy and to consume the enemy. May we find ourselves surrendered to Him; eyes closed and arms outstretched as He rearranges the landscape and leads us to our desired haven.
May we learn to be still. To hear the whisper. To let the light of His presence lead us through the night until the sureness of the break of dawn.