“Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years; and he departed with no one’s regret (sorrow). They buried him in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings” (2 Chronicles 21:20, AMP). Click here for a summary of why no one felt sorrow when Jehoram died.
Dr. Billy Graham was 99 years old when he died and at least hundreds of thousands mourned his passing, among them, ordinary people and past presidents. The Charlotte Observer documented,
“A parade of mourners filed by the casket of evangelist Billy Graham on a soggy Monday in Charlotte, paying their respects to a local son who went on to become America’s most famous preacher and kicking off a week of events commemorating his remarkable life. Visitors, dressed in everything from Carolina Panthers gear to suits and ties, waited patiently for their chance to view Graham’s closed casket in a tribute held on the grounds of the Billy Graham Library. The guests included former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura. Graham, who died last week at his home in Montreat at age 99, will continue to lie in repose in Charlotte on Tuesday, when former President Bill Clinton is expected to pay his respects. On Wednesday and Thursday, Graham’s body will lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol before returning home for Friday’s funeral service …”
Most of us will not die unmourned like Jehoram or have the accolades Dr. Graham received; however, like Dr. Graham, every child of God can be sure of this, “The death of saints of the Lord is precious in his sight. (The Lord is deeply moved by the death of any of his saints.)” (Psalm 116:16, WYC).
I am joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday writing community (on a Sunday) for our weekly writing adventure. The prompt is, “Regret.”
December 31st is known as Old Year’s Day or New Year’s Eve, depending on which part of Adonai’s world you inhabit. Years ago, I realized that the name I give to the day can provide a different focus. Old Year’s Day can promote a focus on the current year with all that made it what it was; it can also promote an expression of gratitude as I recognize that God brought me through challenges and blessed me richly. New Year’s Eve can promote a focus on the coming year and the dreams, hopes, plans, and even uncertainties I may have about the future. I see value in calling the day both “Old Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.” Doing so reminds me that He inhabits my past, present, and future. That, Emmanuel – God with us, is not solely a Christmas promise. I have His promise to never leave me, never forsake me; He is with me whether or not I feel that He is present. The same is true for you. He is with you.
I recognize that dread of the new year can creep in when I see the new year only as 365 more days of the mundane. As holding at least 365 opportunities to make mistakes, etc. Focus matters. Without question, the new year will have challenges. That is life. As in previous years, there will be days, weeks, even months when I pray my way through every hour. When I stumble more that I stride. But there will also be moments of joy, and wonder, and the satisfaction of tasks well done. Moments when I have the privilege of being part of someone’s healing and having someone be part of mine. Moments of extending and receiving grace. Moments when hope seems futile and moments of restored hope. Moments of chaos and pain and moments of clarity and peace. Moments of bone weariness and moments of renewed strength. Moments of relational rupture and moments of restoration and deep connection. Moments of resting in sunshine, the warmth of the sun feeling like a soft kiss. Moments when all the world seems gray and wet. Moments when I receive forgiveness and am enabled to forgive. Moments of learning more about my heavenly Father and, as a result, learning more about who I am in Him.
And all of these moments are in the hand of the Eternal One. The One who neither sleeps or slumbers. The One whose eyes are on the righteous and His ears open to our cry. The One who loves us with an everlasting love and draws us with lovingkindness. The One who is full of compassion and abundant in loyal love and truth. The One who is Almighty and omnipresent and invites us to come boldly to His throne of grace and find help in the time of need. The One who is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we can ask of think. Old Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve and all our days, Emmanuel. May you experience prosperity as He defines it, in every area of your life in 2018.
Father, as we face 2015, first we say thank You for Who You are. We take comfort in the fact that, Who You were before time began, is Who You are now and will be in 2015, and forever. You are our one constant, Father. Thank You.
Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for Your mercy. Thank You for Your love and Your promise to be with us always. Thank You for the Blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin and makes it possible for us to enter the new year forgiven.
Give us the strength to let go of all we have held onto in disobedience and fear in 2014, and take firm hold of all that You have for us. May each day find us transformed just a bit more into Your Image and trusting You more. In Jesus Name.