A Year in Review
Hello for those of you who visit the website. It’s been a while and I thank you for your reading these posts. Although Thoughts & Prayer is a part of my ministry, it is also very therapeutic for me. Writing has always been a form of exhaling, a tension reliever, a door opening, or closing, just plain exhaling … letting go of those things that appear to want hang on.
Thoughts & Prayer, this website, is a gift. A good and precious gift I have neglected. I have not written in T&P for some time. Why, I honestly do not know – maybe laziness, being non-committal, unfocused, distracted, not caring, lack of confidence in my calling, probably a little of all those things. The Holy Spirit is indeed my pen and these days I wonder if he has abandoned me; if he has forsaken me, but then I am reminded that it is not he who has pushed me aside, but I who have pushed him aside. I have neglected my gift, but with this year going out I pray I discipline myself to do, and to write, and to be led as before. One of the Pastors (Omar Thibeaux) whose sermons I study, once said that when he first began ministering on the campus curbs of LSU, someone advised him, “Do your ministry even if you don’t feel like it….” That was good advice.
In the Christmas season, I like to take time to reflect on the days and months past. This year came in and passed like an eagle flying, looking for food, zoning in on it and snatching it away. The daily 24 hours came, and went, with it life and death, good and bad times, blessings and lessons, growth and backsliding, great pain and greater joy. That’s life, right? But I wouldn’t miss one day of it.
2018 started out with the burial of a little one the first week of January. No one I knew, but the baby’s funeral was held at our church, and death just kept coming. Christmas Eve our church buried a 17 year old. Young people are dying in droves. So many young people ages 14 – 25 dying. Then sickness: so many people are sick and many people well then go to the doctor and are diagnosed with something critical. Young folk in their 50s are having to deal with strokes and heart attacks and major recovery. Families being hit with the unexpected and having to deal with it, sometimes with mutiple situations.
A dear family member is suffering, has been suffering, with some serious body pain for about 4 years now. We talked over Christmas and I told her how much I stand in awe of how well she wears her pain. She has 3 little grandkids and each time they jump on her, or hug her tightly, or grab at her, pain racks her body, but you would never know she is in pain by looking at her. I tell her how much I admire her and her response, “What am I going to do? Complain? I still have to live and enjoy my life.” I believe that one day the pain will leave her body forever. Prayer and belief bring healing. I am also reminded of Romans 8:25: … if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Hallelujah, indeed!
As I grow older, and hopefully wiser, life becomes a little more complicated. One day you are in your 60s and you wonder where it all went. Life does not prepare you for all things life. This year, I don’t know if it is because I am older, more things are closer to me: death, and illness (physical and mental), purpose, direction, choices. Youth shelters us from the realities of Life: some aspects of life seem far away from us, but when those zero years (30, 40, 50 and 60) come around life’s perspective becomes different, as least that’s the way it has been for me. I recall thinking when I was 17 how a 25 year old seemed soooo old. Now I find it humorous when my 15 year old grandson quips about how ‘ole’ I am and still youngish.
What is really going on? Pastors talk about the end is near: I believe them. This world is crazy. What is good is evil and what is evil is good. The world acts like there is not a God, an Almighty God. The Christian is placed in the middle and these days it takes great faith to be a Christian and greater faith and strength to speak your voice to show that you are indeed a believer in the Word.
Every day we are tested and the tests appear more cunning. I find myself watching more TV than ever: a distraction, a major distraction. Owning a Firestick and subscribing to Netflix does’t help. I don’t read, I haven’t been a student of the Bible very much this year. That has got to change, not only for me, but I pray for you, too.
A new year is around the corner. New days bring forth new hope. Let us rejoice and be glad in the days lived and the days ahead to be lived. Let us offer great praise for what was, what is and what is yet to come in our lives. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and that Christ was remembered.
Father, one cannot offer enough thanks for your hands upon our lives and the lives of those near and dear to us. As you have kept us this past year, we pray that you keep us, guide us and continually help us in this journey called life. Let us make good choices and be guided by your word. Let us devote time to you and not be distracted by the distractions of life and worldly things. Let us take the time to spend with you, to get to know you better so that when ‘Life’ becomes complicated we are strengthened because we know your character, we know who you are, what your word says and we know that we should stand strong knowing that no weapon formed against us shall prosper, there is no condemnation in those who believe on the gospel of Christ Jesus, all things work together for those who believe on the Lord and are called according to his purpose. In Jesus name, we so pray. Amen and Amen.