The world has changed a great deal in recent years, and those changes keep on coming more quickly than ever. Some are good, and I am overjoyed at how God is at work in unexpected and marvelous ways. Others are not good for anyone, and I deeply mourn the injustice, pain, suffering and, yes, idolatry that are their fruit. And many are just what they are – changes I need to adapt to.
The church I love so much has changed dramatically and faces a future I’m simply unable to predict even as I complete my 40th year in fulltime ministry. I’m heartbroken by its fixation on being comfortable and ideologically correct to the point it seems to be merely a reflection of the polarized and sinful world in which it exists. Yet almost everywhere I go, I see Jesus-followers who have experienced his salvation, been freed from their past and are engaging in the work of sharing his love in real ways with real people that makes a real difference.
And now it gets personal. I’ve also changed a great deal more than I want to admit. I’m older, which means coming to grips with aches and pains that won’t seem to go away, signing up for Medicare and having to ask younger people to do what I once was asked to do for “old people.” Yet the older I become, the more I experience the blessings of family and close friends who make real the concept of grace, help me experience joy, and give me hope when I am running dangerously low on it. I also experience something else that is an amazing grace. I’m able to increasingly glimpse the spiritual reality that is more real than life itself
As I enter this new year, uncertainty reigns in so many ways. This makes it tempting to think I don’t have enough, try to take control, and get caught in that endless – and fruitless – cycle of trying to stockpile for the future. Thankfully, I’ve experienced that there’s a far better way to deal with uncertainty. It is to anchor my life in God. When I do – imperfect as I am – there is always enough. Indeed, there is always more than enough. It may not be what I thought I wanted — or even what I imagined I needed — but it is truly miraculous how God provides what I need when I need it in exactly the way I need it.
My prayer for you in this New Year is quite simple and, to be honest, grows out of my spiritual journey. May you realize that you already have enough and will always have enough. Not because you’ve earned it or even deserve it. But because you experience how the reality of God, the love of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit is so at work in your life that you receive what you need, when you need it, in exactly the way you need it.