On the eve of one year ending and another about to begin we must take a deep breath of perspective. The media would have us look back at names and faces thought by the world to have been important. Indeed some probably were, but how did they impact our eternity? Did they point the way to faith, hope and love? Many may have mentioned the name Jesus Christ in thank you speeches while collecting accolades, but did they live like they really knew Him.
When we take our own inventory of this past year, can we call to mind those who truly impacted our very eternity? Can you see the names and faces of those who took the time to invest in us with their time, love and hope? The better question to ask is how much we were able to give to others in time, love and hope?
Such an inventory offers perspective but only a small one. True perspective takes our eyes off of our own achievements and simply focuses on the One who gave all. Jesus asks for our love and even gives us the ability. (1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.) His love overflows enough for our neighbors. This means to love without expectation, acknowledgment or acceptance. Can we love without anyone in this world standing there to pat us on the back? Time for another deep breath of perspective; in the year before us we will have the opportunity to invest and impact the eternity of all around us.
From Mark 12:30-31 (NIV) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.… Love your neighbor as yourself
I dreamed the language of poetry during the night. Beautiful words of expression, chords played with longing and hope coming alive, letting me walk within each word and note. The reality of this dream state is my home. Immersed in this freedom, I never want to awaken. I fight the fleeting moments when consciousness prevails, taking me back to a world where the dimensions lock me down once more. Fully awake I still remember my true existence.
‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’
I have never felt the desire to put a Christian emblem on the back of my car. I don’t have a cross hanging from a chain around my neck. Neither of these do I despise. I understand the propensity to publicly declare one’s faith. It’s never the outward image I’ve ever been concerned much about. My thoughts have always been focused on the inward condition of my heart.
“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but He will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.”*
From Luke 2:34-35 (NLT)
He Held My Hand Song Snippet (Click Here)
I reached out and he took my hand. With our fingers intertwined I felt my heart thump a bit harder. His touch was a wonderful thing and I liked feeling safe in his presence. His tongue easily tied itself in knots, so I demanded nothing for words. A tune from younger years flooded my thoughts. Using my mental filter I listened to the only sentiments that mattered for this moment.
“Is it my turn to hold you by your hands, tell you I love you and you’d hear me…if I could give away the feeling that I feel yeah…but now I’m under water and I’m drowning, oh” *
*Edited lyrics from PM Dawn
I had left my house with a chore in mind and in a few blocks I sensed a drawing to go pray upon the hill overlooking my city. It had been a while since I had been there specifically. Arriving I felt quiet, not knowing what to pray. The parking lot was empty except for one car I assumed to be the pastor probably in his church office. I stopped near the gazebo and rolled down a window to hear my worship. I grabbed the small bible I kept in a side pocket and got out to walk.
The cold wind bit into my face and my hands quickly turned numb. I walked to the edges of the hillside and began to look down upon the streets lined with homes. I felt such a lack for words. Here alone I could only say aloud, “Lord, don’t let me get lost” and I pulled the small bible closer to my heart. Inside the pages was every prayer needed. In a short time I turned to go back to my chore.
Reaching for the door handle I saw a bottle had been put upon the hood of my car. The label only said, “Drinking Water”. Looking around I sought who had put it there. I did not see anyone and I hadn’t heard a thing. I’d only been here for no more than five minutes if that? Reaching for the bottle I got into the car to sit still for a few minutes. Looking at the label again I was reminded of my thirst for the Lord.
John 4:10 “…If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask Me, and I would give you living water.”
The news is filled with diatribe. I have to weigh the desire to be informed against reporters trying to bend my emotions for their own agendas. A stirring within reminds me what lack of understanding feels like; pointing my fingers at everyone and especially God for losing someone I loved. In the worst hours of my pain, I wanted justice but God was not to be a part of that. I blamed Him, I accused Him, I talked about Him not being there, but never once did I actually talk to the Lord Himself about any of it. I can’t even remember saying a single prayer.
Closing all the news feeds I go back to the only good news (gospel) which can offer me truth and answers. Now is not the time to preach against the ills of our society. Now is the time to mourn with those who mourn. Quietly I begin to pray for those who lack understanding and will try to point fingers. Somewhere in the world, someone did the same for me once.
Shutting my eyes I can hear a single song verse, “what would you even say, when all of the words get in the way, what would love do now”?*
*lyrics by La Esperanza
My eyelashes held tears not yet fallen. I wondered at the sensation. Was this what the flower petals felt when holding the dew of the morning, the moisture of God? A gentle delay; waiting for the moment of release when they’d finally drip leaving a trail upon my cheek, each tear having significance to the Lord.
Psalm 56:8b (NLT) You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each on in Your book.
Psalm 126:5 (ESV) Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
My head hurt and I drew close to hear the words just before the cannon went off again. I could see the moving lips but my hearing was deafened by the boom drowning out all conversation. Looking at the expressions I hoped I could understand without spoken words. Another cannon explosion caused me to close my eyes. This time I couldn’t read the lips but my hand was upon a shoulder. In that moment everything became silenced.
Breathing deeply into my lungs I listened with the only sense that mattered. In a touch I heard the rumbling of destiny, of hope, of authority and wonder. This was what it felt like to touch love, to touch eternity, to touch God’s heart.
Her voice was familiar and comforting. I asked her to have coffee with me. We were hundreds of miles from each other’s location. She lay in her bed and I snuggled upon my couch to chat. It was easy to pick up from our childhood when we would sit with her grandma at the small kitchen table. She too would have a cup of coffee in front of her. I usually sat on the floor petting their Irish setter and we’d listen to her grandmother share her pearls of wisdom.
Years have passed and now the pearls of wisdom flow from my friend’s voice. As I listen to her talk I can still picture myself on the floor burying my hands in the dog’s fur, just listening.