When I look in the rearview mirror, I see the years gathering up behind me, and I can hardly believe how quickly they’ve piled up. As life rattles forward, it seems the earth makes its annual journey a little quicker than the year before. Where has the time gone?
It’s well past time to start wondering whether there may be more years behind me than there are in front of me. I don’t mean to be dour or macabre in saying such a thing. It’s just that pondering that possibility tends to focus the mind on what God wants it focused on. Numbering our days is how we present to God a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:10-12). As the ball drops into the silliness of Time Square, it anchors the soul to know how transient we really are (Psalm 39:4).
There are a lot of things that I want out of life—a lot of things I’d like to achieve before the curtain falls. But there is one thing I know for sure. As I watch the curse grind up the world and everyone I love in it, there is only one thing that really matters in the end. If I fail at everything else, I must have this. I want to be known by Him and to see all of His promises come true (1 Cor. 8:3; Gal. 4:9; Rev. 21:5). All around my heart is eventually going to give way, and when it does I want Him (Phil. 3:7-14). And I want that hope to break in to all the rest of the now’s that God may be pleased to give me. That’s it.
And so I begin this year with the words of a song—“Happy New Year”—and I share them with you (listen below, download here). 2015 is another chance to catch a glimpse of what is coming true. The God who made everything is remaking everything—including us. He is making all the sad things come untrue. And He says, “I’m making all things new” (Rev. 21:5).
Knowing that is the only way to have a happy new year. And it’s the only way I know how to wish you to have one.
So, Happy New Year!
As I look at 60+ years behind me, I couldn’t agree with you more!
Very well said, and that was a post that was full of wisdom. I am still under 40 (just barely though) but now that I have two very young kids it forces me to think about what is really important in life, and to take the focus off of myself. I wish I had gotten married at a younger age, because nothing forces a person to grow up like marriage.
But I’ve also had the privilege of working with mostly elderly people in my career as an Occupational Therapist. Tragically I’ve seen far too many people filled with regret, and sadness towards the end of their lives. Granted so many of them are going through truly Job like suffering, but for the vast majority of them, they have no real Hope to which to anchor their lives. Equally tragically based on my conversations with them, most haven’t truly considered the meaning of life, and haven’t known the joy of serving God and thus building upon the solid rock of Christ, and storing up treasures in Heaven.
Thanks again for that post, and particularly for the wisdom of Galatians 4:9. That one really jumped out at me, and I think I’m going to have to keep coming back to it in 2015. “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?”
Happy New Year Denny, and God Bless!
Thanks, Brian. Happy new year to you too!
Question: what does Paul mean when he writes: “You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have worked for you in vain.”? Does this relate to what you wrote about in your post?
Excellent! Our greatest need is to be known by Him. It is not so much my knowing Him as it is His knowing me. The most dreaded words in the world must be these: “Depart from me…I never knew you.” As to the world being ground up, it could be that there is more of future to this existence than we have suspected hitherto. Since “He commanded (His word) to a thousand generations,” and allowing but 20 years per generation we might have 20,000 years. However, if the generation is lengthens as in when a person dies at a hundred he would be considered a youth, then that seems to look for something like a Methuselah length. Then we would have 900 years per generation and 900,000 years to settle the planets of this universe. If we are already traveling to the stars as some suspect with good reason, it follows that possibilities unlimited are beginning to open to mankind. Think of the whole earth being converted in one generation. Spurgeon, for example, prayed for every soul on earth (cf. Aug 6th & Dec.24th in his Evening by Evening), and follow that up by a look at Jonathan Edwards’ Humble Attempt (vol.II, Works, Banner of Truth, edn. ,p253ff) which inspired Carey and others to launch the Great Century of Missions that it might be fulfilled that our Lord shall be called the great God of the whole earth, etc. All of this to fulfill Rev.7:9 that the number of the redeemed in Heaven might be a number no one can number, that these redeemed are the elect gathered by the angels from one end of THE heaven to the other.(Mt.24:31). Cheers! CHEERS, INDEED! From your friendly and rather isolated Post Millenialist.
a very moving post, particularly these words:
” As I watch the curse grind up the world and everyone I love in it, there is only one thing that really matters in the end. If I fail at everything else, I must have this. I want to be known by Him and to see all of His promises come true (1 Cor. 8:3; Gal. 4:9; Rev. 21:5). All around my heart is eventually going to give way, and when it does I want Him (Phil. 3:7-14). And I want that hope to break in to all the rest of the now’s that God may be pleased to give me. That’s it.”
Denny, you mentioned a phrase by C.S. Lewis and I thought about something else that a literary friend of his wrote on ‘the forsaken land’ and ‘hope’,
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains,
Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart,
as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him.
For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him, that in the end,
the Shadow was only a small and passing thing:
there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” (Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings)