Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Tonight, at seconds before midnight, we start the count down. We yell it all together, some in unison with the TV, or led by the host at a party, or maybe you are tucked into bed already. We count those last seconds: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 -- Happy New Year! When we were children, we would run outside after mid-night and bang on pots. After becoming of age, it was all about who you were with and who you would kiss first at midnight. And we would drink champagne together. But you had to wait for the countdown to be over.
Time is great like that. It is linear and predictable. Sunset is at 4:39 pm. I can google it and see. Sunrise is promised at 7:21 am tomorrow morning. I can count on it.
Life is not like that. I can't have a countdown on my life. I don't know when the last second will be, the last hour, the last day, the last year. I am old enough that I have not only seen the end of a year, but I have seen the end of decades. Indeed, I have seen the end of a century. I saw them coming and could plan. I could countdown.
But I can't see the end of my life.
Maybe because I am approaching age 60, I am thinking of these things more. My grandmother passed away at age 60, so my mom was understandably anxious as this age drew near for her. But God in His mercy, has allowed her to see age 85. 25 more years and counting.
What do we do as the time runs down on the hour glass? How do we countdown, not for the New Year, but for our life?
This morning I saw this sweet scripture from the prophet Isaiah; a message from a loving God:
At that same time, a fine [pleasant, beautiful, fruitful] vineyard [God's people] will appear.
There’s something to sing about!
I, God, tend it. I keep it well-watered.
I keep careful watch over it so that no one can damage it.
I’m not angry. I care.
Even if it gives me thistles and thornbushes, I’ll just pull them out and burn them up.
Let that vine [God's people] cling to Me for safety, let it find a good and whole life with Me,
let it hold on for a good and whole life.” (Isaiah 27:2-5, The Message)
At the end of my life, whether it is sudden, or a the long journey of a disease, I am with God, because I have clung to Him for safety. I may not be able to countdown, and I do not know the time, but when it is time, I am sure of where I will be. With Him. He promises because He wants us to be confident, that even if we do not know the time, and we do not know the way, when we cling to Him, we are safe.
God is keeping careful watch over me. He tends to me. He reminds me -- and I love this!! -- He is not angry with me. He takes all my nasty deeds, all my mistakes and He pulls them out and burns them up! But for me, myself, God promises He cares for me and not only wants to give me heaven with Him forever, but a good and whole life.
Now, there’s something to sing about!
Father, I praise You! I am overwhelmed by Your great love for me. In 2014, let me sing and tell all I meet of Your beautiful, faithful love. Let them see it in my life and desire Your peace too!
Let them take hold of My strength and make complete surrender to My protection, that they may make peace with Me! Yes, let them make peace with Me! (Isaiah 27:5 The Voice)