Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy New Year

I was delighted to receive the new Paul McCartney concert DVD from Deb on Christmas. Yes, at 54 I confess, I am still a 60’s rocker at heart. While sitting there watching the concert and reliving my youth, I was struck by the title of one of my favorite songs, “The Long and Winding Road”. I know this song is about a relationship but it struck me that our walk with God is also a long and winding road.
In the ancient church down through the ages, the first Sunday following Christmas was the celebration of the Magi coming to find Christ in Bethlehem. In fact, for those who may attend more liturgical churches such as Lutheran, the congregation would have been singing “We Three Kings”. Matthew chapter 2 tells us the story of these wise men going to find the Christ child. Their journey to the child was long and winding; they really did not know where they were going. They were from the east, but ended up in Jerusalem and that was not the right place. At Herod’s urging they continued on.

Let’s be honest, God rarely allows us to take a direct path to anything that is important. The long and winding road is the way of the Lord. Moses crossed the Red Sea and wanted to go straight ahead taking the shortest route between point A and B. God, on the other hand, took him off to the left and he wandered all over the place. God had a work to do.

Abraham was told to get up and take his family to a place that was not yet made known. This was no easy feat for Abraham as there were no moving companies or storage rentals. Everything had to be carried on beasts of burden and each day his family had to deal with only having a temporary dwelling. Talk about no security. Most women I know would not put up with that. Yes, it was a long and winding road for Abraham and his family.

Christ our Lord traveled throughout Palestine logging who knows how many miles by foot. His journey was not a straight shot from Bethlehem to Jerusalem; no, it was a long and winding road. God had much to accomplish through Him along the way and at various points.

My point is that as we come to 2011 none of us knows where our journey will take us. We can have dreams, make plans, and set goals, but the long and winding road can change all of that rather quickly. Proverbs 19:21 reminds us, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”.

In our fallen nature we long for security and comfort. We want to know our future and we are restless when the answers don’t come. Yet, it is an illusion to think that security will come from anything on earth to those who are marked with the Spirit of Christ. As Americans we not only seek, but we are consumed by, knowing our future and securing it. Now I have no desire to, as the late Chris Farley said in his comic sketch, “live in a van down by the river”, but I do believe we spend so much emotional energy on things that are secondary to our Creator.

A good friend of mine was recently let go after years of working in a ministry organization. We talked on the phone and, of course at his age, he was a bit anxious about another job. After I got off the phone I sat down and wrote him an email. I told him that I wanted to send him a copy of a prayer that I discovered a few years ago that I keep in my prayer book. I hope it blesses you and becomes your prayer as well.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

And I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadows of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.


Whether you chose to be or not, if you confess Christ as Savior you are on a long and winding road; a road that leads to the door of heaven where only then will true security, eternal security, be found.

God’s peace to you,

Dan Owens

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