Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hope

I went shopping at Costco right before New Year's, and the employee at the door (job title: Costco card checker?) greeted me and handed me the latest sale flyer. As I glanced quickly at it I could see it was covered front and back with specials on alcohol. I politely declined, and walked ahead where I viewed the "hot item" display area that was now filled with gym membership offers, vitamins, and meal replacement drinks. It isn't rocket science to figure out marketing tactics for us consumers at this time of year. First, early in the season (WAY too early) we are presented with holiday food and items geared as gifts, then comes alcohol for New Year's, followed by all ways we can get rid of all the excess that they have sold to us. We're such suckers.

Well, I suppose I fall victim to that cycle as well (well, minus the alcohol). It's the new year, and I am faced with bowls of holiday candy I no longer want around, I'm gladly bidding good riddance to the Christmas tree and all the decorations, and the thought of sweets and rich foods disgusts me. I am ready to turn over to the next chapter, thankful for a fresh start. My new year goals are probably not that different than yours, from the serious to the mundane: Read more (especially the bible), exercise more (3-4 times a week at the gym), eat healthier (and less), take my vitamins regularly, whiten my teeth, simplify, love deeper and live more obediently unto Christ. Six large bags just went to the Goodwill and I've worked out three times since Jan. 2. I am motivated now, but I know that somewhere down the line, my resolve will fizzle. I will become less concerned about my resolutions. After all, I battle my lazy and unproductive flesh. I know I will be lamenting along with the apostle Paul sometime soon, "For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." (Romans 7:15) If the apostle Paul saw himself that clearly, so should I.

Which brings me to the wonderful hope that someday I will be free of the struggle. Life, this life here on earth, will be over soon and I'll be in my eternal home thanks to what Christ has done for me! I have done nothing as a wretched sinner to earn this eternal reward, but Jesus' death on the cross allows God to see me as righteous and accept me into heaven! Is that not a glorious thought? Sometimes I wonder at the start of a new year, "will it be this year?" or as I'm taking the ornaments off the tree "will I be putting these on next year (or will I be in glory)?" I wonder when the time is appointed for my glorious homegoing. I know that only God knows this. Now don't get me wrong, I also agree with Paul that "to live is Christ and to die is gain." Wherever God wants me to be, I will be content and glad. I will continue to strive with hope.

I know someone who finished his earthly journey 8 years ago. My dear first born son Brady spent his last day on earth exactly 8 years ago today. January 4th, 2004 was the last day Brady had to battle sin, illness, and suffering. Early in the morning hours of January 5th, in the presence of Rich and myself, he peacefully slipped from earthly sleep to glory! He is now in his eternal home! How I rejoice! And yet how I envy him. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for Brady's homegoing, and hope for mine.


Wishing you a new year filled with HOPE!

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4 comments:

Pur et Simple said...

I pray that tomorrow will be a sweet day of rememberances!
Hugs from WA

Katherine~ said...

This is a beautiful post, Karen. Thank you for sharing such a Christ-honoring and hope-filled perspective on an experience that I am sure was deeply painful. You've got me all teared up...

Carly Jean Brannon said...

I'd like to just repeat Katherine's comment :) She said it perfectly! Thank you for your Christ-like example of faithfulness and hope, not only in this post but in your life :) Your joy and gratitude in the midst of suffering, radiates Christ.

Laurie said...

One of the things that make us long for Heaven are the human losses and suffering. When someone you love is there, it loosens our hold on Earth for those who remain. I'm thankful that even though the days seem long, awaiting that "appointed time", that looking back, it will be like a "breath" in light of eternity. Thanks for the great reminder, of why we live in confident expectation!