another year begins

another year begins

Mystery. That was my “word” for the year 2017. While I’m not settled on a word yet for 2018, I am reminded that this word, mystery, has been transforming and formative this past year.

God has reminded us this year that though we live in a state of mystery, He knows no mystery. He, who is mysterious and yet allows us to know Him, is not surprised, confounded, or caught off guard. Matt Papa in his song “I Have A Peace” says,

“I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future”

What a grace. May we know that our Who is greater our “what”. In His grace and mercy He doesn’t allow us to see the path laid out ahead of time – we aren’t who we will be when we get further down the road and don’t have the grace, the manna, for that later time yet, whether it’s tomorrow or thirty years from now. I struggle here. I am fearful of the far-out future. And I realize when I fear the far out future, or anything, that I’m not looking at Jesus. Because if I was looking at Jesus – not looking at myself, not looking at where I think I will be in the future – I wouldn’t fear. I would fall more in love with the One who holds the future securely in His perfect, loving, stable hands.

This leads to a conviction – I have a tendency to idolize myself, thinking more of me than of Jesus. I easily forget what Jeremiah calls us to remember:

“Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm! Nothing is to hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)

Instead, I’m more likely to resonate with the prophet’s bold and soul shocking words from the Lord,

“But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:11-13)

That’s some bold language that I have, previously, skipped over. I’ve skipped over the truth that God calls the heavens to be absolutely shocked and desolate about that staunch reality that His people choose themselves – their limited knowledge, their apparent control, their unquenchable idols – over Him. His perfect peace, His unfathomable power, His unlimited knowledge, His magnificent beauty…He alone is immeasurable in all these things. He is infinite and yet His people, in their finite knowledge, wisdom, power, and ability, chose themselves. This is me – no finger pointing here. Thankfully His grace knows no bounds and His chain-breaking, darkness-rescuing, unrelenting love breaks through by convicting me and inviting me to Himself over and over again.

Robert Murray McCheyne  sums up the invitation beautifully:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jer. 17:9. Learn much of the Lord Jesus. For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ. He is altogether lovely. Such infinite majesty, and yet such meekness and grace, and all for sinners, even the chief! Live much in the smiles of God. Bask in his beams. Feel his all-seeing eye settled on you in love, and repose in his almighty arms. . . . Let your soul be filled with a heart-ravishing sense of the sweetness and excellency of Christ and all that is in Him. Let the Holy Spirit fill every chamber of your heart; and so there will be no room for folly, or the world, or Satan, or the flesh.”

Ten looks at Christ for every look at self. I think on this quote often, desiring for it to be a reality in my mind and heart, looking always and often for Jesus – the fountain of living waters, instead of creating broken cisterns for myself. Maybe that’s my word for 2018 – watch.

To watch for the Light.

To gaze upon Jesus.

To look for Him in all the moments that will come.

And in seeing Him more, worrying about me less. Idolizing my comforts, fears, and sense of control less. Letting my soul be so overwhelmingly filled with Him that there’s no place broken cistern making.

Whether its my word or your word or not, may we all watch for Him – trusting Him more, loving Him more and resting in His all-sufficient power, love, and grace.

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