Last week, I stared in the face of a teary -eyed receptionist. I asked if everything was OK. She reluctantly admitted that it wasn’t . She had just lost a friend to a tragic death. It was all over the news.
Her compassion for him, his family and the friends they shared together was blaring. She mournfully stated that he was all alone at the time of his death. It seemed to be the one thing that bothered her the most.
That’s when it occurred to me that he most certainly was not alone. Jesus was there. He always is. When her friend left this earth, Jesus didn’t miss it.
When that fact dawned on her, her face brightened. Her tears dried up. Her eyes began to sparkle even though they were still red and moist.
See, I believe that God gave me that word for that particular encounter with her. Isn’t it wonderful how God shows up when we need Him the most? He is always ready to comfort us in our sorrow.
Jeremiah 31: 13 says, “I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.”
I have been reading slowly through the Bible book of Jeremiah. With this being New Year’s Eve, my mind is in a peculiar place. It is rock solid between caution and adventure. How can you have a grand adventure in the clutches of caution and still have a Happy New Year??? Well, that’s where Jeremiah comes in. Chapter 25 shows how God has pronounced destruction upon, not just one nation, but many. All those nations had to look forward to in their future was doom, gloom, and destruction. However, sprinkled fully throughout the book is the revelation of what went wrong. It was simple, really. Jeremiah 25: 2, 3 says,
“Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people in Judah and Jerusalem, “For the past twenty-three years- from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until now – the LORD has been giving me His messages. I have faithfully passed them on to you, but you have not listened.”
Their destruction was in their failure to listen to God. He called for them, time and time again, to return to His ways and to abandon their deceptions in favor of His eternal truths. But each time, they refused. This caused me to think. Could the secret of a great new year be in the sensitivity of my ears and heart to the voice of God? That if failure to hear could result in such cataclysmic disaster, then would great victory be the outcome of submitting to the One who holds my life in the palm of His hands?
I feel that the Lord is showing me that I will reap according to my heeding to His Word this year. What is true for me is also true for all of God’s children. What better time is it than now to make a commitment to study the Bible and to pray with passion and boldness. This requires silence as we sit, as it were, at God’s feet and soak in His counsel and instruction. God says, at Jeremiah 23: 21, 22, that if the false prophets had stood before Him and listened to him, then they would have spoken His words. I can’t help but take a step further and say that perhaps Israel would have been spared. Perhaps, if we dare to listen, we will be spared. So yes, 2017 is a grand adventure in and of itself. Who knows what may happen? So let’s go forward in the spirit of expectancy of good things. But with caution!!! Let us make sure we heed God’s direction and counsel- in all things. Let us not forge straight ahead without a compass. But let us carefully make sure we are on the path of favor and blessings in this New Year.
This morning my son spilled cereal all over the table, floor and my plate. I could tell by his demeanor that he was sorry. Something in me said to take a quiet breath and be careful about how I respond. Part of me wanted to lecture him about being careful and to remind him that he had spilled something the other day. However, I realized what was important in this moment was mercy. We all make mistakes. Period. I was terribly clumsy as a child. Who am I to criticize him?
He quickly started to clean his mess and told me he was sorry. I said, “It was an accident. Just be more careful next time.” I made sure that my tone of voice was non judgmental.
Is it too much to hope that if I sow patience that he will have the same patience for me when my hands are feeble and I drop things? Will I reap his mercy?
I don’t know. But what I do know is that God is continuing to do a fine work in us all. He is teaching me and all His children to be more like Him, even behind closed doors.
I don’t know if I will blow a fuse next time. I hope not! But for now, I rejoice in teaching the next generation what love and patience look like. As the Word says, “We reap what we sow.”