As many of your know, Claire and I take a two mile walk every morning. In recent months, the early morning sky has been clear and filled with stars. On one particular morning, however, the sky was very overcast but because it was so dark we couldn’t tell how heavy the clouds were.
About a mile into our walk, we found out. There was a brilliant flash of lightning followed by a crash of thunder. We hoped that we might be able to make it home before the rain started but before long the rain started. We didn’t get soaked but the rain steadily picked up as we walked back up the street to our house. The wind also picked up considerably and was blowing directly in our face.
Now usually on our walks the 40 minutes or so go by quickly. This time though, while we were only a couple of blocks from our house, the walk suddenly became very long. We were walking quickly, but it seemed to take a long time to get back home. As we neared our house, it occurred to me why. I was walking with my head down so the wind wouldn’t blow my hat off and so the rain wouldn’t hit my face. I could see where we were going, but I didn’t see up ahead as to how far we had to go. All I saw was the black pavement and the curb. There was no indicator as to how far we had gone nor how far we had yet to go.
It struck me that there are times when we go through life that way as well. We are so focused on where we are right now that we lose perspective, and when we lose perspective, we tend to lose heart. We need to have the perspective of where we have been because then we can see that God has indeed brought us through many things and blessed us abundantly as we have gone along. We need to have the perspective of where we are going for then we can know that we are not just wandering aimlessly or plodding along. We are heading the place God is directing as well.
This month we celebrate the birth of our Lord. It is easy this time of year to look down and become so focused on what is immediate around us that we lose perspective. What is the perspective we need? We need to look to the past and remember that in His love and mercy, God sent His one and only Son to this earth to die for us and remove the guilt of our sin from us. Moreover, in our own lifetime, God has been working powerfully to bring us along, sanctifying us, disciplining us, encouraging us in our pilgrimage.
This month we also need the perspective of the future. The one and only Son who was born 2000 years ago is coming back again. There is a very clear and certain future we are heading toward. Just as I was walking home on our walk in the rain, we who believe are all heading home some day. We don’t know when we will arrive home. For some, their homecoming may be much sooner than we would like. For others, their homecoming may be many years away. However, the fact that Jesus is coming again means that all who believe will some day be home.
When Jesus was once talking about the end of this age, He said that His followers are to “stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:28). When we feel the pressures of life pressing in, Jesus says to lift our heads up and realize that our complete redemption is coming soon.
As we walk on our pilgrimage, especially in this time of year when it is so easy to become bogged down, let’s lift our eyes and look around. Let’s look back to the manger, the cross and the empty tomb and thank God for His marvelous grace. Then let’s look forward to that time when Jesus comes again and all will be home forever.
Pastor Jerry December, 2015