tuesday was a gift from God. one of those tangible gifts of actual grace that give us those seemingly all-too-rare glimpses of his hand at work, reminding us that he is real and that he is at work. i’ve seen them over the years, when i have had the eyes to see. and i’m sure i’ve missed a bunch of them when i’ve had my spiritual head up my own assets, worried so much about myself that i had no clue that God was anywhere in the vicinity.
but tuesday i saw it. actual grace. God’s tangible activity.
it snowed. not a lot. but it did. i heard that it hasn’t snowed in charlotte enough to cover the ground since 2004. but tuesday it snowed.
and as if that weren’t gift enough in itself, it was also inauguration day.
now forget about politics, okay? there’s just something about each of these that reminds me that we get second chances. that no matter how bad the past, there is a future. that while there may be decay in our rearview mirror, our rearview mirror is showing us what we are leaving behind.
i have never been one to make much of a new year. to me, it was just the next month in a long, long linear processional. a new year was often more annoying than promising. i put the wrong year on my checks for a week or so. i couldn’t get a treadmill at the gym. last year’s calendar got put on a shelf and i couldn’t find it when i needed to refer back to something that happened only a couple weeks earlier.
but not ’09. not this year.
this year, for some reason, i am excited. i am optimistic. i am expectant. i fully anticipate seeing and hearing life-changing stories this year like never before. growing closer to God. learning how to glorify him more and more in everyday life. learning his better and applying it more often. embracing his people in small communities where we can love, trust and serve one another. getting ourselves freed up and healthy in any and every way necessary, in order to stand ready to serve God and those he points us to, whether across the world or across the lunchroom table.
our staff met all day yesterday to map out 12 months of opportunities intended to help us all move into and through one of the best years of our lives. in a few weeks, we’ll put that calendar into your hands. but even before you receive it, i hope you’ll be praying. pray that God will move in you with his Spirit in ways that will help you commit to the things that are most important this year. ask him to show you very clearly where you ought to be engaged and active for his glory and your own health. beg him to take away the resistance, the laziness, the fear or the apathy that keeps you from worship or cell or service.
promise to read his word this year. promise your kids that you will lead them spiritually this year. promise your spouse that you will get out of debt this year – or at least make a significant dent in it. promise those who ask you that you will in fact finally join their cell. promise yourself that you will leave your comfort zone for one – just one – significant serve experience.
’09. it’s a new year. a year full of promise.
the snow and the events of tuesday are now also in the rearview mirror.
but don’t miss their message.
God is present. every day is a new one. He gives second chances.
Father, we thank you for the moments when we are clearly reminded of your presence and your hope. so many of us need the eyes to see that right now. we need that promise. we need that anticipation. we want so desperately to be drawn by your Spirit into this new year. change us. transform us more into the image of your Son Jesus. cover our sins like a blanket of new snow, and inaugurate in us a new heart, ready to live solely for you and your glory. receive our humble and expectant pleas in Jesus’ name. amen.