Thursday, January 05, 2023

What Will You Choose for 2023?

As I think about 2023, a new year, a fresh start, another new beginning, I wonder what will I choose? There are infinite possibilities of tasks or deeds, books to read, people to spend time with, places to visit. And so many words to consider, to define, to understand, to believe or question, to savor, to share. What I choose to do or what I choose not to do makes a mark in time, influences or hinders, comforts or grieves, encourages or diminishes. 

What will I choose? Within the margins of study and prayer, service and sharing of knowledge or inspiration stand a multitude of good options. All the while, outside the margins, the world teases and taunts without concern for wisdom or discernment, with self-serving quests carrying banners that falsely promise freedom or love or security. At times, the lines between the margins blur. 

If we are honest, we all live between the margins. Unpredictability and uncertainty are always present and probable. Hopes and failures, joys and sorrows, questions and answers, living and dying, all these contrary realities walking together become the paradox of life. On the night that Jesus is arrested, He tells His chosen disciples that they are about to desert Him, scatter to their own homes, and abandon Him. Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Peace within the tribulation; living between the margins.

Most of life is not neat and tidy, folded, organized, or indexed. If we only choose to stay within the careful margins, or “scatter to our own homes” for safety, we will miss the places that need us most. There is a song lyric that says, “break my heart, Lord, for what breaks Yours.” These places are always outside the margins, in places of uncertainty, in the depths of loneliness, in the poverty of brokenness. We when choose to cross these margins, we wade into those promises of difficulties in this world, but we also rest in the promises of His peace. The Message uses the words “you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace.”

Jesus calls us to “take courage” as we travel the unpredictable and uncertain journeys of this crazy world. Our faith and obedience to God’s voice becomes the only true yet intangible guide. Only God is immutable, our abiding constant who navigates and provides and sustains us. What will I choose? I choose the paradox of life, peace in the tribulations. I choose to live between the margins with Jesus, faithful and true! - dho 

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