The countdown is on for the end of this year and as 2012 comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on this past year…successes, failures, my idolatry, my broken moments before the Throne of grace, losses, gains, and most certainly God’s hand in it all. And as I reflect, the natural thing to do is to begin to plan and prepare for the coming year and list off all the things I will most assuredly do better than I did this past year. I will set my jaw with determination to not fall into the same ol’ same ol’ patterns of sin and self-indulgence…just like I did last year this time.
Right up until I realized how utterly pointless that would be. Like I, in my own feebleness of will, have any power whatsoever to “be better.” Of my own, I succumb to this clothing of flesh that I wear and often find myself stumbling around in dark.
Or should I rather say, stumbling around in the light with my eyes closed.
Because the God of the Universe is there with all of His strength and power to overcome the dark. The Christ is there to trample the serpent under His glorious nail-scarred feet. The Spirit with His lamp is there shining light all around me, even into the deepest darkest places of my heart.
And sometimes I just can’t look. It’s just too much…too wonderful really and I still to this day cannot fathom what on earth He would want with me. But He does want me. Loves me even.
But then sometimes, I’m ashamed to say, I don’t want to look. I choose not to look because my heart has fallen asleep to the beauty that is my Abba, and I become like Gomer, running back to my idols and my sins. The sacrifice is too hard, the wait too long and I squeeze shut my eyes and run away…only to come back to Him broken and bleeding. But He takes me back. Every time.
And I’m tired of the tug of war.
About this time last year, I chose a word that would set the tone for the year. Last year it was “intentional.” And I was intentional…for about the first three months or so. And then I guess I must have dozed off.
As the new year approaches, I have been seeking a new word. And as I’ve pondered that word over the past few days, there are five letters that continue to come together, wide open and expectant.
Five letters that will draw me out with eyes wide open, ears listening, heart pounding in anticipation…looking, seeking, alive and alert.
Awake to the grace of God that pours from the nail prints in the hands of Jesus.
Awake to the mercy of God that continues to pull me to Himself.
Awake to the love of God that is so grand and wonderful that it must be shared.
Awake to the mystery that is I Am.
Lord, I pray that I would go forth with full wakefulness, pressing forward. No more stumbling around in the self-inflicted dark. You are light and You are truth and Your mercies are fresh with each new day.
Lord, may I breathe You in each day, full and deep. May I look on You wide-eyed and in wonder and awe. May my heart be attuned to the presence of Your Spirit like never before.
May I finally be awake.
Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.