Happy New Year: HE Goes Before!

Smiling snowman

Happy New Year!  I know I’m late in saying this.  But for the past few lovely weeks I’ve been living on “Planet Nana.”  Our daughter Erika has been visiting from Ireland with her husband Richie and their adorable 2-year-old, Gabriella.  It’s been total joy for this Nana!  I’ve loved every minute.  And I’ve also had a great refresher course on real life with a toddler—more on that in a future entry.

But for right now, I’m sitting in an empty house which is way too clean (all the toys have been put away till the next grandchildren visit—as soon as possible, please!) and way too quiet.

But it’s giving me time to reflect.  January is that kind of month, isn’t it?  All the celebrations and family visits are over.  The Christmas decorations are put away.  There’s a certain “cleansing” in finally throwing away the last of the stale holiday goodies and getting a fresh start.  There’s a whole new year ahead.

A whole new year.  But what will it bring?  What lies ahead?  January is probably a time when we have more questions than answers.

I find myself thinking of each of you reading this blog.  I wonder about how January 2011 is feeling for you just now.  I’m guessing some of you feel relief that the holidays are over.  You’re exhausted, and thankful to be “back on schedule” (especially if you have kids in school!).  Others of you, who don’t have kids in school and are surrounded by babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers, are asking  “What month did you say it is?”   Some of you are housebound with sick kids.  Some of you are grandmothers, like me, who are missing the kids that have gone back to their own homes.

But all of us, at some point or other, wonder about 2011: What will it bring?  I think that’s why the January 14 entry in Streams in the Desert struck me with such force.  It’s based on a beautiful picture—the picture portrayed in John 10 of Jesus as our shepherd, the one who goes out ahead of His sheep and leads them.  John 10:4 says this: “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”  (NIV)  In other words, HE goes before.  He is ahead of us in all our tomorrows—no matter what.

Shepherd leading his sheep

The devotional entry goes on to include a poem by J. Danson Smith with the constant refrain: “He goes before.”  Then it concludes with some words from F.B. Meyer: “…God is out in front.  He is in our tomorrows, and it is tomorrow that fills people with fear.  Yet God is already there.  All the tomorrows of our life have to pass through Him before they can get to us.”

I just had to share those words with you.  They are such good words as we enter a new year.  Whatever is on your mind just now as we begin 2011—sick kids, cabin fever, financial stress, job insecurity, infertility that feels like forever, or welcome quiet, pregnancy-in-process, a bright job future, the joy of a “clean slate” new year—whatever is on your heart about 2011, He goes before. He’s already there, waiting, extending a hand, letting you know that as long as you keep your hand in His, He will never let go.  Never.

Good words for 2011.  Good words even for January.  Good enough words that I can wish every one of you, with confidence, a Happy New Year!