The Word of God

Epiphany 2020

epiphany bread with plates and cups on table

One of the reasons that I love Christmas so much partly lies in the fact that every year it takes on a certain hue, texture, or flavor based on what is happening around me both internally and externally. Epiphany is that crowning moment (pun intended) where I ask God to show me what He wants me to learn and experience from the recent weeks and from the past year. Some would say, rightly, that hindsight is 2020, but I want to believe that foresight must be more than that, even crystal-clear, if we are going to walk boldly with our good Jesus.

Whereas life often separates meaning from emotion, the spiritual life brings them together to create remarkable epiphanies that harmonize all life to give us a heightened awareness of our place in this world. This is what I believe happened to the Magi after following the star in the East that took them to places they had never dreamed of going and were, by extension, never the same again.

My prayer for you and me today is that we remain true to ourselves in order to rise to greater consciousness, awareness, and love; to be thankful for the scars and for the insight we’ve been given, moving forward so that everything that rises must converge and lift us to a higher possession of our own existence. Because after today, we begin to follow the East Star all the way to Easter where we find an empty grave, where all of our fears die in the hands of a man who was born in a lonely manger so that we may never be alone.

“Waking up to a new sunrise
Looking back from the other side
I can see now with open eyes
Darkest water and deepest pain
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
‘Cause my brokenness brought me to You
And these wounds are a story You’ll use

So I’m thankful for the scars
‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And I know they’ll always tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful for the scars” – Scars (I Am They)

Foresight is 2020

closeup of open eye staring

It was New Year’s Eve-eve if such a phrase really exists, but for some mysterious reason, something kept me in bed longer than I have been for quite a while. It was a different kind of fatigue, one that seemed to start in the very center of my being, like a nagging case of indigestion or that queasy experience when you realize you forgot something important such as a passport or your wallet. A few minutes later, it became obvious to me that the feeling was caused by silly, petty and pesky-irritating anxiety. Gratefully, this emotional boomerang hadn’t reappeared for quite some time and I surmise it surfaced this morning because, not only have we come to the end of the quarter, the month, the year but also to the end of a decade, and by most intelligent accounts, beginning of a new one. Perhaps that was why it hit me with the suddenness of a car wreck. I knew it was kind-of-serious because, unlike 99.4% of my mornings, I was not hungry, at all.

At first, I was angry because these last two months had been excellent. Lots of fun, excitement, creativity, conversations, a healthy share of drama, physical achievements such as individual accomplishments at swimming, weight loss, and intense cardio thresholds, not to mention two of the finest, choicest Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations that I could remember. For much of those hallmark memorable goals, I had some very close friends to thank. Anyone looking in on my life from any vantage point could probably comment that given all the slings and arrows of more than outrageous fortune and power-driven meanness thrust my way, I have done rather well. And for that, I have my Jesus to thank! But this all-too-familiar pain-in-the-impasse wasn’t going anywhere for a while and I knew I had to do something. In keeping with the good news of this glorious Christmas Season, I will share what was done and what worked.

I stopped. Plain and simple. I made sure I was sure of my self-diagnosis and begged God for help. I then went for a long walk and let the air run through my hair and just started thinking about how many wonderful blessings I have and how happy I’ve been. I then welcomed the anxious feelings and made peace with them. You see, this little bout of troubling worry and uneasiness is helpful if it doesn’t last too long, which it shouldn’t, if I simply face it, walk with it, talk it through, celebrate it, then send it on its merry way.

It was right about this time that I began to think about our CityofAgape Foundation readers and supporters, and everything that has led us to the current moments of our lives. We are very blessed and joyful for having the awesome ability to distribute the Word of God.

It is no accident that the 2020 new year has been referred to as hindsight. I think 2020 should also be boldly applied to looking ahead into the depths of the future still waiting for us.

If anxious feelings and sleepless nights have any value whatsoever, they at least have the potential of drawing us out of ourselves, inviting us to take stock in all we have and give us the hope and the desire to keep going into tomorrow and calling out the Lord’s name for the help that He is always wanting and waiting to give.

That’s why anxiety, in healthy doses, is an old friend.

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