As I write this, the sky is lit up with fireworks and the sounds of crackles, pops, and explosive bursts fill my room as the breeze blows lightly through the window. Just think. This type of fireworks extravaganza goes on world wide every year at this same time. If any astronauts are up there tonight, it must be quite a sight!
It’s the New Year. A time to celebrate. A time to reflect. A time to look forward to a fresh start. But, most of all, a time to let go of the past. Starting over, or new, is easy. It’s the letting go that can sometimes be the real challenge.
If you’re anything like me, letting go of the past and moving forward can be tough. As much as I would like to think I do it without much effort, at times I struggle. I have a really good memory. Especially if things have not worked out the way I thought they should, or if someone has done me wrong, or been unkind. I am not proud of that characteristic, but I would be lying to you if I did not admit that part of my humanity. Sometimes things, for me, just die hard. But I am working on it. And I think I am making improvements!
Maybe for you the new year holds the reality of letting go of something near and dear to your heart. Or perhaps something that just needs to go away. Like my fruitcake for instance. I finally realized that carrying on a family tradition for the sake of my grandmother, may not in the end really be the best project to devote my time and energy to every year. Let’s face it, as good as it is, no one eats the dad gum thing, and, few in my circle will even give the poor concoction a try. Just because the recipe is almost two centuries old doesn’t validate forcing it on innocent bystanders or guilt-ridden family members. Somethings are just better off left to the past. As my friends say, “Move on.”
Think of it this way. There are certain things in life that we just cannot understand and other things that we can not change. Like a spouse who has left, or a child who has wandered off of the good path, or perhaps a disease that refuses to be cured. Sometimes, it’s best to just quit trying so hard and let things be. I will explain.
I personally had a situation come to a head this year that finally got the best of me. I firmly believed God had chosen not to answer my prayers or fix the problem and I resigned myself to that notion. I had sought Him for years on the problem and finally threw my hands in the air and said, “Fine. You have chosen not to solve this. Very well. I give.” And then, as if He were giving me the best Christmas gift ever, He came through like never before for me in regards to this issue. I was stunned. I knew it was prayer. There was no other explanation. So many people had been praying for me that it was obvious. I just kept saying, “Thank you, Lord.” (And to those faithful few that prayed for me – a huge Thank you to you too!). I was amazed at how my Father in heaven finally chose to step in and take action. The situation is not fully solved, but the progress has been so huge and so obvious, all I can do is express my gratitude.
Maybe you were hoping for a situation to be resolved or a prayer request to be answered before the clock struck midnight on December 31, 2007 — but the solution or the answer never came. The chimes from the clock tower came and went just like the fireworks, but as you looked for resolution, once the smoke cleared, yourself feeling that you were left in the fog to carry on in 2008.
Allow me to encourage you to not give up, as I did. As I mentioned, I wasn’t exactly a bastion for the faith over the past few weeks before I saw some light in my tunnel. Thank goodness God does not answer our prayers because we are good little boys and girls. It would be a terrible shame if He worked off of a naughty or nice list. If He did, it wouldn’t be grace at work. And His sacrifice for us at the cross would have been in vain.
No, God works in His time. In His way. And, fortunately, in His wisdom. He doesn’t decide if I am worthy or not of my requests and prayers, and best of all, He doesn’t’ hang on to my past either. He lets it go. And I am oh, so grateful for that! He truly moves on. And He does it so much better than you and I could ever dream.
I pray that 2008 will be a year of newness and refreshment for you and for me. A time to draw near to the Father even when we feel that He is so far out of reach or that the angelic operators have surely placed our calls on eternal hold. May we look to the heavens with palms up and say, “O.K. I don’t get it. But since you are everywhere, and can see everything, I know you see me. Though this is not clear to me, I choose to believe You know what you are doing in this situation and that You and You alone are in charge.”
Please remember my friends, that He is not only the Lord of the past, He is the Lord of the present and the future. Our future. And with that, we can learn to let go and move on. And if you’re in the market for a great fruit cake recipe, give me a call. I’d be happy to oblige.
Hugs and Happy New Year.
Phillipians 3:13