January has always meant cleaning out closets, putting order where clutter festers, and reading the book of Deuteronomy.
I began Deuteronomy, some clutter was routed and other than that, nothing. It was a month of blizzard conditions. Much of our area was without power. With grateful heart I report that Mercy saw to it we remained lighted and heated.
The month was mostly spent in this ER, that doctor's office, that hospital room. Much has been learned through this and much reflection over the year has been made. (More on that later)
There were bright spots to be sure. The church where we have served for 10 years put on a lovely 'retirement' party for us. Forty years of ministry was acknowledge by the coming of many from far and near. That afore mentioned snow business hindered many from attending. However, in His way, as is always His way, the Lord brought just the right people and gave the perfect measure of grace and strength for the event.
Now we go forward in the days ahead - into the unknown as always, but assured - finally and again - of the One who leads the way.
These have been testing days, long days followed often by longer nights, but here we are. And through it all, the stored up promises of scripture and hymnody have been what carried and kept the mind in order, the spirit fresh, when there was little time for little more than snippets and sips of the water of the Word.
And once again, I stand next to the prophet Habukkuk taking comfort in his words penned so long ago. These are words to which I've run clinging so often through the years.
The Chaldean hordes may have threatened but God proved once again to be the Everlasting Rock. Dreams and plans lay in crumbles but "the earth was filled with the knowledge and the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." All so often seemed hopeless, helpless, lost, with strength gone and the fabric of life unraveling and yet.... AND YET! That glorious, resounding, magnificent 'nevertheless', those grand familiar words of so long ago calling out once again from the watchtower.
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
though no fruit is on the vine,
though the olive crop has failed
though the fields give us no food,
though the folds have lost their flocks,
and in the stalls no cattle lie,
YET in the Eternal we will find our joy,
we will rejoice in the God who saves us.
The Lord, the Eternal, is our strength,
He makes our feet sure as the feet of hinds,
and helps up to keep our footing on the heights!
Praise His yet again!
~James Moffatt trans.