Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8: 35-39 (NKJV)
“What’s next?” It seems like an obvious question as we move into the New Year.
The words seemed to carry an sense of expectancy as the frozen frost-filled blades of grass glistened with the golden rays of the morning sun filtering across our back yard and through the blinds of my upstairs windows. There is a loftiness and fearlessness to the words—“What’s next?” A dare almost, ready to fly beyond a week of sub-zero temperatures, the past year’s disappointments, old anxieties, lingering fears and ever-present doubt into a new day with its promise of new opportunities, new friendships, new challenges, and also, uncertainty.
“What’s next?” With blinding clarity the words stop you in your tracks.
It’s a question I have too often turned away from. Perhaps you know the feeling. Or if we don’t turn away from it, we ask it quietly, under our breath, with a spirit of timidity, hoping no one will hear, especially ourselves.
Too much suspense is wrapped in whatever answer comes tumbling over the wall of whatever is around the bend. There is a part of us that wants to retreat to where we are—better to be safe than sorry—a childhood verse from somewhere in the past reminds us.
We remember when we asked it before, and we still remember some of the results. The disappointment and heartache of past results are still raw, too painful and too soon, to chance another foray into a world where failure seems to be the majority rule. But there were some good results also, and, well, here we stand ready to ask it again.
For you see “what’s next” is the only path from yesterday—through whatever is going on today—and into tomorrow. It’s the only path from who we were—through who we are—and to who we are meant to be.
And as we march on into a brand new year, maybe we should pause to remember that for a moment, exactly who were we meant to be? Very simply and for all eternity—a victorious child of God.
He had been beaten, shipwrecked and jailed and yet the Apostle Paul had the audacity to ask “What’s next?” Or as Paul put it facing whatever was next:
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So where do we find the courage to stand in the sunrise of each new day and boldly ask the question…“ What’s next?” We find it in the assurance that as children of God, Christ has our future—all the way to and through eternity—in His hands.
Think of it this way. We are about a month away from another Winter Olympics to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I don’t know how many of you watched the Winter Olympics four years ago from Turin, Italy, but a story developed in those games which I have shared before.
Early on in the games, I was watching the snowboarding “half-pipe” competition one evening. An American snowboarder, Shaun White, known as the “Flying Tomato” because of his long flowing red hair, had to fight back from a disastrous first run to make it into the finals. He made it. In the finals, each competitor has two runs and the best score of the two is the only one that counts to determine the Gold Medal winner. The other score is thrown out.
Shaun’s first run of the finals was magnificent. And as he stood ready for his second run after the other competitors had already made their second runs, he was told that based upon his first score—he had won the Gold. No matter what he did on the second run, he was the Gold Medal winner. He didn’t even need to make the run if he chose not to.
How do you think he approached his second run with that victorious news in hand? With timidity? Frightened, tense, nervous? Cautiously? Not on your life, and neither would you.
Instead he let it all go, with calm confidence, courage and assurance. He knew the Gold Medal was his—no matter what he did on that run. The result was already determined. The victory was his.
And his second run was a thing of beauty. The rest of his Olympic competition, in that second run, was a thing of beauty.
What if we approached the rest of our lives that way—beginning with this brand new day of this brand new year—knowing that the victory is ours. I wonder what the rest of our lives would look like. I suspect they would be a thing of beauty like Shaun White’s second run down the slopes of those Olympics.
And then, knowing the victory is yours—no matter what happens—let it all go. The rest of your life will be a thing of beauty—in His hands.
In His Name—Scott