Monday, January 01, 2018

A New Year!

"Oh, the unspeakable benediction of the 'treasures of darkness'! It is not the days of sunshine and splendor and liberty and light that leave their lasting and indelible effect upon the soul, but those nights of the Spirit in which, shadowed by God's hand, hidden in the dark cleft of some rock in a weary land, He lets the splendors of the outskirts of Himself pass before our gaze."    
Oswald Chambers
As another year begs a moment of reflection on its treasures, this quote from Chambers catches my interest. His reference to benediction causes my soul to wonder how often I seek His splendor surrounding my "treasures of darkness". 

A benediction, an ending for a religious ceremony or service, frequently looks to the future with a blessing of hope and peace or an offering of thanksgiving or praise. Chambers seems to be referring to an end of a season of difficulty, reminding that the deepest marks upon the soul, the most hurtful scars do not come from easy times. These times of darkness often grieve us, leaving the soul with "unspeakable" endings and umimagined grace.

While not dwelling on the dark times, my soul hears such grace in knowing that God is with me at all times. Chambers' words clearly depict God's glory coming to us as we struggle "in a weary land". Like God's cloud by day and fire by night dwelling with the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years, God's splendor surrounds us, goes before us, comforts us with His presence. The majesty of God creates a border that envelops our human condition. What glory to behold is ours!

A new year summons each of us into the days and weeks and months to come. How will I consume this time? What will I surrender to God? Who will I engage with goodwill? Where will I encounter Jesus?  When will my confidence in God be consistent? We each have 365 days, 52 weeks, and 8,760 hours to use during this new year. At the end of 2018, what testimony will my life reveal? How will my soul write its annual benediction? Happy New Year!! I pray that 2018 will be a year of joy and peace in knowing the splendor and majesty of God's presence. - dho