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Your Goodness Will Be with Me

I love the dawning of a new year. I tend to view life in “chunks,” in periods with a defined beginning and end. When driving home from Tennessee yesterday I inadvertently grouped the drive into pieces in my mind and felt relief and success with the completion of each portion–from Tennessee to Cincinnati, from Cincy to Detroit, and from Detroit to home. I do the same with periods of time, enjoying the beginning of one period and looking forward to reaching the end of it. A new year is an obvious period to focus on examining success in reaching goals and in looking towards new goals. I do not usually bother with new year’s resolutions. But I do see January 1 as a good day to focus on what I’d like to accomplish and what I’d like to prioritize in the weeks and months to come.

I went looking today for some guidance on how to approach a new year. I found myself reading a grand old Puritan prayer and wanted to share it with you. Taken from The Valley of Vision, this prayer is known as “Year’s End.” I adapted it slightly to change antiquated language to slightly more modern language. But this is as I would pray it today…and as I have prayed it today.

O Love Beyond Compare,
You are good when you give,
when you take away,
when the sun shines upon me,
when night gathers over me.
You have loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love redeemed my soul;
You love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.
Your goodness has been with me during another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.
Your goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
With you as the blessed Pilot of my future as of my past.
I bless you that you have veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.
If you have appointed storms of tribulation,
you will be with me in them;
If I have to pass through storms of persecution and temptation,
I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see your face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith will not fail;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify yourself in me whether in comfort or trial,
as a chosen vessel suitable always
for your use.

What a beautiful prayer that is, that God would use us to further His purposes. Another prayer from the same book begins by saying “Length of days does not profit me unless the days are passed in your presence, in your service, to your glory.” Another year will profit us nothing if we do not live it in and through a for the Lord.

I received an email this morning and this was a suggested New Year’s text. I can hardly think of a better one for meditation on this day. It is Proverbs 30 and verses 8 and 9.

Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.

Oh that God would simply sustain us through another year, giving what we need rather than what we want, and giving only that which we can handle and that which we can use for His glory. May 2008 be that kind of year for you and for your family, and for me and mine.

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