Sunday, December 30, 2012

Canvas of Hope

Remember: to bring to mind, think of again.

2012 is slipping over the horizon as a new year is about to dawn. If you are like me, you are already thinking of the days ahead. What will the New Year bring? What does 2013 have in store? We will aspire, sketch, and set goals (both fleeting ones and ones we seem to scribble down every single year: lose weight, get healthy, get out of debt… again.) 

We will pick up the familiar paint brush of our dreams and splash the colorful strokes of our great plans across the canvas of our tomorrows.

Before we scribble out these great plans, though, we might do well to mark the end of this season with a sweet scroll of remembrance. Nothing builds our faith like a long glance over the shoulder at how far we’ve come. At how far the Lord has carried us. At the great painted picture of His past goodness toward us.

 For me, my list this year catches my breath.

My bubble gums ran out of my first jar.
            My oldest son turned 18, graduated high school, and left home, leaving a  flood of memories, tender joys, an empty bedroom, and unique sorrows. 
                                                                        But by the grace of God, I rejoice.

Someone dear to me heard the words, “breast cancer” and –by no choice of her own- walked the road those words inevitably bring. We cried. We begged. She asked hard questions and I offered small words of faith.           
                                                                        But by the grace of God, there was peace.

Heartache unexpectedly came. Darkness rose up and threatened to steal the light of joy in alarming new places. It is one thing to feel the sting of difficulty in the usual spheres. It is quite another when the thief comes and sneaks into heavily guarded quarters and raids you anyway.
                                                                        But by the grace of God, we endure.

My list goes on. There are pleasant entries. Painful periods. Silent pleas. Prayers, still, that remain unanswered.
                                                                        But by the grace of God, I remember.

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
(Lamentations 3:21-22 ESV)

I call this to mind. At the end of this winding year, I choose to remember.

I remember His works that paint the masterpiece of His faithfulness …
            His steady hand leading the way.
                        His sure whispers.
                                    His infinite grace over every last detail.
                                                His mercies, that never, ever, never run dry.

So by the grace of God, go I.
I look back with a weighty sigh of gratitude.
I look forward with a steady supply of faith.

He shall certainly never fail me. He shall certainly never cease in brushing the richest hues of His hope across your, and my, tomorrows. 

Shall we not look back and first remember?

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