Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Late this past Saturday night I began once again to watch my favorite of all movies—“It’s a Wonderful Life”—in preparation for Lynda’s birthday the next day—yesterday. Then I got up early yesterday morning to finish watching it, in time to hear Angel 2nd Class, Clarence Oddbody, also George Bailey’s guardian Angel, say to George as he sat in the snow in a moment of deep despair:
“Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around it leaves an awful hole doesn’t it? You see, George, you really have had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?”
Forty-seven years ago, God brought the gift of Lynda’s life into mine. Forty-three and ½ years ago she followed through with her brave decision to marry me. Without the gift of her life, as a friend, then my bride—my life—would have an “awful hole” in it. And the picture of our world as it exists today with our children, granddaughters and so many other family and friends—would be different and much less gratifying, indeed.
I’m sure you can identify when I say that life has been a journey of many great moments and parts—like Lynda, family, granddaughters and friends—as well as tough parts—like the heartaches of childhood, and disappointments and failures along the way. As I look back, though, I believe that it was all a part of God’s eternal plan of hope for me, while He kept His hand guiding my life day after day into the future He envisioned for me.
There have been times, though, where the journey just didn’t—and often doesn’t—seem to make sense. Where we can’t see that we are making any difference—or that we have made much of a difference at all. It seems especially true when we find ourselves facing something which we often can’t see our way around, over or through.
But I know of a young man battling hard against the ravages of cancer, and refusing, with the support of family and friends, to throw in the towel when normal courses of treatment seemed to have reached their limits of effectiveness. Another, and someone I had the privilege of coaching as a young boy, nearly forty years ago, has begun treatment for brain cancer looking forward to the day soon when a full healing will occur. And a beloved family member—well they have found yet another spot of the disease—and they’ll deal with it again.
Too many times we have all found ourselves facing something uncertain and insurmountable, and finding ourselves—if we’ll be honest for a moment—wondering whether God is still there. Take another look at that scripture above. Does it say “just in the good times” or “only when things are going according to plan?” No!
Do we know how God will use all that we go through to ultimately prosper us, keep us from harm, and to assure us of a hope and future? I’ve got to admit that I don’t. But looking back I can see what He has done in my life so far.
I can see much more clearly now—when I couldn’t back then—how He has brought me through so much and continued to use me for His purposes. I can look back and see how He has used moments of my life for the good of others. I can see where unclear and uncertain moments in my life became much clearer and more certain, after time—His time—and for His good. I can see how my life has touched the lives of others—and also I can see how—time-after-time—He has used the lives of others to touch mine.
All, it would seem, clearly part of His plan for a wonderful life which He has planned for you and for me—and all of His children.
Not a bad thought to start off this brand new year of 2011 with, together!
In His Name—Scott