A Reflection on the Year 2021
|Sunset at home, 12/31/2021|
Unchanging, everlasting God—
Here I kneel
(In spirit though unable in body)
At the threshold between
This year and the next.
Lord, my heart still stings,
Raw from the many griefs of this hard year,
The dreams dashed,
The hopes deferred,
The tears wept,
The trials endured,
The promises broken,
The trust betrayed,
The upheaval wreaking havoc
And revealing where my true trust lies,
The beloved ones lost,
The beloved ones being lost.
(Not on my shoulders,
But in Your hands.)
I praise You, Lord,
That hope in You is never deferred.
Your promises always come true,
In every jot and tittle,
No word falling to the ground unfulfilled.
You gave Isaac to Abraham against all odds,
At the exact time You had said.
You brought forth Israel’s deliverer Moses
In the very year promised to
The patriarch generations and centuries before
The heel-snatching twin and
The prime minister of Egypt
Were even twinkles in their fathers’ eyes.
You sent Your people into Babylonian exile,
Then opened the path for their return,
According to the seventy years
Predicted by the prophet Jeremiah
And claimed in prayer by the prophet Daniel.
Messiah was cut off—
Hung on a cross,
Pierced with nails and spear,
Buried in a rich man’s tomb—
In the precise way
At the precise kairos hour
You foretold through Your faithful
Isaiah, David, and Daniel.
He, Messiah, rose on the third day,
Just as He promised His disciples
And according to the sign of Jonah.
You poured out Your Spirit on Your children
At Pentecost, the Feast of Weeks,
An outpouring Joel had prophesied
And Jesus had promised.
You place Your bow in the clouds today,
Again and again the rainbow,
Noah’s sign in the skies,
That storm and flood may
Rage and thunder, but never again
Will they prove the end of us
And of this beautiful, terrible planet we love so.
Heaven and earth will flee away in Your appointed time,
But not through the agency of
Himalayan-drowning, Rocky-gouging floods.
Rescue will again come,
But not through an ark of wood to carry
Families of men and animals over the waves.
Rescue will come and has come,
Through the Lamb Jesus slain on a cross of wood,
To bear the sin of those who trust Him
And give to them His righteousness,
And the priceless pearl of
Adoption as sons and daughters of God.
We have Your Word
(And You cannot lie),
Your covenant oath,
Your history of impossible promises fulfilled;
We have the daily signs of
Morning and evening, assuring us
Of Your unfailing steadfast love,
And Your interminable, limitless mercies.
Great is Your faithfulness!
Even in all the wounds and brokenness
This year has wrought, like
Floodwaters carving up our own stony hearts,
Forbid it, Lord, that I should fail
To recognize Your gracious consolations.
You were in the desolations,
Though I perceived You not,
And You were in the consolations,
The sweet blessings that strengthened weak hands
And made firm feeble knees.
Thank You, Promise Keeper, Almighty God,
For Your presence in all our tribulations,
For Your Word in every need,
For every drop of anguish that amplifies our need of You;
For the lives spared,
For the service You enabled,
For the hours of hymns sung through masks to a dying woman,
For the yarn crafted into comfort, love, and help;
For unearthing happy memories,
For times spent in Your glorious creation,
For open doors of opportunities;
For reunion with loved ones after months of separation,
For sisters biological and spiritual,
For Your servants newly consecrated with laying on of hands
For technology bringing distant teaching, worship, and celebration
To my kitchen and my comfortable chair;
For unexpected, miniscule health progress,
For clear cancer scans,
For milestone celebrations;
For the miracle of monarch metamorphosis
Observed in all its stages,
Your profuse, offhand wonder
Passing unnoticed myriad times a day until
The serendipity of scrutiny from
A vantage point of inches.
“Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise.”
These happy eucharisteos also
We lay upon Your altar;
This weight of blessing,
As much as the weight of sorrow,
We roll into Your strong, pierced hands.
For the glad things and the sad things,
We love You, trust You, praise You.
(Not on my shoulders,
But in Your hands.)
Bandage our wounds
And revive our hearts with
Hope and joy from You for the year ahead.
You have gone before us
And will meet us there,
For Jesus’ sake.