A New Year Approaches
Tomorrow begins the adventure of 2016. 2015 seems like a blur. Just another reminder of how fast time really moves forward, whether we are ready for it or not. Time just keeps on ticking. I feel very different than I did on New Years Eve 2014. Last year, I knew big changes were ahead. Although the year did present some surprises, I was able to anticipate much of what was coming, which allowed me to physically and emotionally prepare myself. Today as I look ahead to 2016, I have no idea what to expect. I have no idea what's coming down the track. I will admit that this is a scary thought for me. Nagging questions creep up in the back of my mind: What if your not ready for the changes ahead? What if you can't handle what's coming? The most persistent question though is what if nothing changes at all?
Last Sunday, my pastor preached on the passage in Acts 9:1-17, in which Paul (formerly known as Saul) encouters the Lord on the road to Damascus. For those not familiar with the story, before Paul's encounter with the Lord, he was a Pharisee who intensely persecuted followers of Jesus Christ. On a journey to Damascus, a great light from heaven flashes around Him and he hears the voice of the Lord say to Him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" Paul asks, "Who are you, Lord?" And the Lord replies, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." The Lord gives Paul instructions to get up and to go into the city, but as he gets up from the ground, Paul realizes that he is blind. Paul is blind for three days, before Ananias prays for him and he receives his sight, along with the Holy Spirit.
My Pastor touched on the importance of being blind. Right at the beginning of his Christian faith, Paul was cut off from his own sense of vision and forced to rely totally and completely on the Lord. God does the same thing with us in different seasons of our lives. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our planning and preparations for what comes next that we can forget to lean and rely on God right now, in the present moment. Sometimes it takes uncertainty and lack of foresight to wake us up to the reality that it is not our vision that we should be trusting in, but rather the vision of the one who sees all, knows all and who always has our best interest at heart. When you are blind, a couple of things happen. You listen more. You learn that you don't know it all and that you can't possibly do it on your own. You realize that you have to have confidence in the one who is guiding you. They become your strength.
I love the familiar verse: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight" (Prov. 3:5-6). It is not our understanding we need to be leaning on this year, but the Lord's. The concept of "lean" in this passage is to put our full weight on.
Maybe 2016 has a big question mark hanging over it, as it does for me. Although the unknown can be scary, on the flip side it brings us adventure, excitement and new opportunities. For me, 2016 represents endless possibilities. Let's do this.