Christmas is over and 2009 is drawing to a close. And as the milestone of another New Year's Eve approaches, even though I'm mindful of many things in my life that I can be grateful for, I'm conscious of a quiet disappointment that's lurking in the shadows of my heart. It's the disappointment of unanswered prayer regarding Fiona's health. Nagging thoughts in that area have sometimes left me pursuing the call of God on my life in feet-dragging, head-drooping, soul-draining ways.
That's why I'm going to end 2009 with a couple posts intended to encourage myself in the Lord. It won't be difficult to do, because as I've already said, I have a lot to be thankful for and simply need to remind myself of that. These posts will be drawn from a journal I've kept in 2009 as I've read through the Bible.
Earlier in December, I was reading Ephesians. And as I read of being blessed "with every spiritual blessing" (1:3), of experiencing "the riches of his [God's] grace" (1:8; 2:7), of "the great love with which he [God] loved us" (2:4) and of being "seated with him [Christ] in the heavenly places" (2:6), I was struck with how easily I've let circumstances and disappointments rob me of the joyful hope that all those truths are intended to provide. Imagine that! I've been wonderfully welcomed by an extravagantly loving God, and I'm capable of approaching him warily as though he disapproved of me. That's no way for someone who's been so lovingly adopted as a son (1:4-5) to live, and I don't want to enter 2010 living that way!
That's why Ephesians 4:4 strikes me as such a vital verse in my life. In the ESV, it ends with the phrase, "just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call". When I think of the salvation-call on my life in that way, it gets my attention. It reminds me of the absolute non-negotiability of hope for those who believe in the risen Christ. Hope actually "belongs" to my call as a Christian. Hope and God's choosing of me go together -- they're inseparable. That means that the call of God on my life comes with a full tank of hope that can never run out as I choose to walk in that calling.
Do I ever need to speak to my soul everyday to remind myself of that -- that being chosen and adopted by God ought to thrill me in ways that no disappointments can smother. And I need to keep my hope-tank full by regularly filling my mind with the encouraging Truth of God's Word. And because hope belongs to my call, I can confidently enter 2010 full of hope for a new year!
© 2009 by Ken Peters