For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
As the year of 2014 comes to a close, we have to do something with the past – we must file it away in some way or another in our souls. It was said of Mary that she pondered the details of the birth of Christ, kept them in her heart, like a slow cooking cake turning them over again and again in her mind. And we often do this with memories in our own lives.
With sacred history the record is clear, as the scripture above tells us – it is given to us so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures we might have hope. We read the biblical stories of these Old Testament saints and we see their challenges and struggles, the examples of faith and obedience in difficulty, we are encouraged. I believe we also, however, through our lives have the opportunity to make similar contributions to those around us – in our individual lives we persevered and gained the blessing that God promised.
In today’s world people want immediate satisfaction – they want every thing either “Now!” or “Right now!” Sociologists tell us that in developed societies one of the values held by the people is the concept of delayed gratification – and, in fact, this trait is essential for the development of a nation’s economy. When the people of any society have accepted this as an important value in their national culture, it will lead to the advance and further development of the entire nation. People will seek greater education, invest savings and be economically conservative, and will commit to long, expensive, and involved building projects to improve the infrastructure. Their willingness to go without in order to achieve something of greater worth is important. “Stuttgart 21” – the renovation of the central train station – comes to mind, that this huge undertaking will require several years to complete but there is the belief among most (not all, of course) that this “delayed gratification” is worth it to the development of the city.
What has God taught you this past year? What development projects that God initiated are still ongoing in your soul? How can you continue to grow and mature? How can your skills continue to be honed and perfected? The one thing we should always take with us from our past experiences is the knowledge that good things are more difficult to do that we probably thought at first. Gain the encouragement and hope that God gives. Did you achieve all of your goals? Probably not. But don’t be discouraged. Are you further along now than you were earlier? Let God continue to do His work in your soul. He who began a good work in you will carry it through to completion (Phil. 1:6). He has not given up on you, so don’t you give up on Him!