ISSUES OF FAITH: Wake up and feel excitement again

You know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed (Romans 13:11).

TIME IS A funny thing. When we were children, we couldn’t wait for Christmas to come, New Year’s Eve, our next birthday, even the end of the school year.

We would mark our calendars, count down the days and stay awake at night in anticipation, as our imaginations ran wild.

But when did that eager anticipation for time to fly by change for you?

When did that impatience transition into wanting to harness time, stop it or even reverse it?

My wife and I look at our children growing and we wish we could freeze time.

We pull out the Christmas ornaments they made when they were itty bitty. We look at the measuring stick on the wall where we have, through the years marked their heights, and we shake our head at the stark reality of how fast time flies.

I know that my wife and I are not alone.

This time of the year, families everywhere sit around the dining room table and nostalgically share stories of their Christmas past, longing to re-experience those former moments.

Certainly, many individuals find themselves almost in a haze, thinking of the people that will not be sharing in their celebrations this year.

We all experience losses, and those losses seem quite piercing this time of the year as we march through this season.

Perhaps the loss you have experienced is of a trauma, a shattered family or because of a death.

Those voids that seem to prick our heart cause our heads to drop in disbelief of how much we have lost as time marched on.

Could it be that our tarnished excitement for the future has something to do with all the loss that is littered throughout our lifetime?

Could it be that the thing that transforms us from possessing a childlike anticipation of the future is the fear that all our moments are increasingly fleeting?

Going down memory lane, recalling all that “isn’t the way it used to be” can be dangerous.

As soon as we begin to focus on one area of loss in our life our mind starts piling it on as to all the things that have changed, been taken, or have vanished in the blink of an eye.

We become overwhelmed, frustrated, and even hopeless.

Perhaps with all of this thought on loss we need to remember the words of Paul, “The hour has come for you to wake from sleep” (Romans 13:11).

In these darkened winter days we often find ourselves daydreaming about the days gone or opportunities missed.

Wake up! Wake up from dreariness of doubt, the grogginess of disillusion, discouragement and disappointment.

Your salvation is nearer now than when you first believed. In fact, your salvation has already come in Christ Jesus, the Word made flesh (John 1; Colossians 1).

Who pursues us in our lives as we feel the pressures of all that is lost (Psalm 139).

Even that night when He shattered the darkness enveloping a Bethlehem stable for the sole purpose of providing you eternal life, victory over death and freedom from your sin. He became incarnate still today through His Word as He encourages us by reminding us that our identity, purpose and destination is not tied to the things of this life that can be stolen (Matthew 6:19-20; Colossians 3:2).

The truth of the matter is that everything in your life could be wrenched away — house, family, food, clothing, health — and nothing could change who you are in Christ.

All because that child who was born in the manger so long ago to die for you and me — winning us life and salvation by exchanging his life for ours — you have hope.

Not a hope that that is a wish, but a hope that is certain.

A hope that is rooted in the reality that you have eternal life and citizenship in heaven.

As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

We do not grieve time gone by as the world grieves without hope (1 Corinthians 15:52).

No, we are more than conquerors in this life as we hold on to the cries of Christ and how that only begotten son changed our future (John 3:16).

The hour has come for you to wake up.

So wake up and rediscover the light piercing this present darkness that is the Gospel of our Lord and how it has transformed your whole existence.

Hear again the encouragement that the day of full restoration of all that has been lost is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

With that the words from the beloved hymn “Amazing Grace” will be experienced by all, “When we’ve been there 10,000 years/ Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise/ Than when we’ve first begun.”

Then we will see how time is truly a funny thing. So, stand again with ardent anticipation of a child on Christmas Eve night, ring your hands in fervent anxious expectation of this new year.

The Day of the Lord is near. And we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6).

To Him be the Glory.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Dr. Patrick Lovejoy is pastor at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. He can be contacted at 360-457-4122 or [email protected]

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