February 5, 2019, according to the Chinese calendar, begins the Year of the Pig; it is also the year of my 60th birthday. As I contemplate what could be a significant milestone, I remember a time in my life when just reaching the age of 40 felt urgent.
My sons were young and I worried about dying before they could take care of themselves. “If I can just reach 40, I know they’ll be ok.” There was no cause for concern, I was just young, lacking wisdom and understanding. Blessedly to say, I made it and then some. The last 20 years have brought God’s gracious lovingkindness in infinite ways.
His gracious mercy has gloriously shined in numerous holiday celebrations; birthdays of family and friends; high school graduations; college graduations (one being my own at the age of 41); full recovery from several minor health concerns; the weddings of my three sons to beautiful, intelligent, kind and caring women; the births of four healthy grandchildren; fun-filled vacations; witnessing the transition of my mother from this life to the next and surviving the grief; the privilege and honor of serving 1700 plus students and having them in turn touch my life in miraculous ways; losing beloved friends but making new ones; reconnecting with distant family members; funerals; baptisms; moving; retiring and on and on—all notable touchstones of God’s truth love and beauty.
Implied within those highlights, however, are the not-so-noteworthy, perhaps mundane activities of day to day life—reading a book, cooking a meal, washing dishes, cleaning house, washing clothes, buying groceries, caring for an ill family member, etc. My mother set an excellent example of how these daily circumstances can be and are meditations to the Father; testimony to the Christ within and around us.
Sometimes His truth, beauty and love are lit in an even more subtle light. Her upper jaw was toothless save two, one on either side. He was jobless and they were homeless; however, when this young husband asked for some peanuts for his bride, there was a beautiful tender loving intonation in his voice that spoke volumes of God’s Grace and Presence.
I was reminded of what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-13, “… I have learned to be content regardless of circumstances. I know what it is to be in want, and I know what it is to have more than enough—in everything and in every way I have learned the secret of being full and being hungry, of having abundance and being in need. I can do all things through him who gives me the power.”
In whatever my circumstances of the last 60 years, God’s truth, beauty and love were there, even if I wasn’t aware of Him just as He is for the homeless couple, just as He is for you. Paul assures us that we, in Christ, can be fully conscious of His abundant mercy, grace, Love and peace no matter what our circumstances may be now and ever.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.” Let this be your resolve for the new year.