This fall has given me new eyes for hope and, really, how much my life and perspective has lacked the hope of Jesus. I’ve held onto my glass half-empty far too long. As I’ve been asking God His vision for my 2011, I naturally assumed the answer would be hope. My year to hope. My year to lay worst-case scenario expectations by the side of the road and pick up a new motto that says “I will hope.” Simple. Natural next step in my progressive plodding towards the throne.
But He said uh-uh. Not enough. Think bigger this year.
Hope is a bi-product. Beautiful as it is, in itself it’s not something to pursue. As I’ve asked God for His vision for this next year … for my family, my marriage, my children, my writing, my stance towards Him, my relationships … this was the phrase I got:
Pursue the lines on His face.
When I ran in Virginia, there was a small clan of us who would cut through the morning’s quiet with the pitter-patter of our stride on the pavement. Leaving and returning to my neighborhood for my run, I’d pass the others. I knew only a few of them, but I’d memorized the stride of each one. From one end of our main road to the other I could tell who was coming my way, simply by watching the way they ran. My friend Gigi had a determined stride. Older-man-with-a-pot-belly-clutching-a-nerf-football had a quick stride. Retiree-who-wore-the-same-jumpsuit-every-morning was slow (but steady).
I always thought it funny when I actually met one of these who I shared the early mornings with. The neighborhood chili cook-off, or a conversation by the pool would allow for an introduction to one of these stealth runners and I’d think, as they walked away, “oh yeah, I recognize that gait.” I knew their frame, but the few seconds that our paths crossed each morning didn’t allow me to really see their face.
I guess I’ve been sobered lately by the thought that I could live my whole life knowing the outline of God — only to have the intricacies of His character, His nature and His stance towards His people available, but unfamiliar to me. The Man I’ve pledged my life to offers me a close-up, that I could easily overlook in my own comfort with the broad strokes.
My time in eternity — for the rest of my life — will be built upon the relationship that I have with Him here. And I want to get as close as I possibly can. Front row. ‘Cause He’s just too good to put on hold.
Things like hope and faith and joy are inevitable at the discovery of this Man who knows everything I ever did and yet pursues me. And so I pursue Him. A close look in His eyes, if He will. A long stare at the beauty of His face. I want to study Jesus and stand ready to receive the life-change that is inevitable from a brush with His person.
The few moments I’ve gotten lost in descriptive from scripture like “fairer than the sons of man”, “grace is poured out upon His lips”, and “my beloved is white and ruddy” have made time stand still.
The face of this Man is limitless.
And this year, that is what I will seek.
Happy 2011 ~ can’t wait to see what You bring.
Here’s another blogger I’ve discovered, also naming her new year.