“Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21
The day after Christmas is usually my best opportunity to get in front of the indubitable eight-ball that arrives January 2 when the entire world returns to work. The 26th is void of visitors and the streets are somewhat deserted, and I can almost be completely reassured that my “workday” will have zero interruptions of the normal kind. Leaving the gate closed, I make my way up the steps to begin our year end close out and have some reflection of my own. Just as I sit down with coffee in hand and worship music in the background, FedEx, UPS and DHL all arrive at my gate at the same time as if on que that I’m in my place of comfort and clarity, and there is now time for disorder. While I was grateful for the products being delivered, my irritation surpassed any command to be a light and any desire to actually live out the message of the music I was listening to. After all, this was my time, as an owner, to reminisce over 2023, get ahead and give thanks. Just as I ran down the steps to meet the drivers with a message of discouragement and inconvenience, the Holy Spirit spoke a clear word through the rustling of the trees and cattails on the perimeter of the property.
In the life of Jesus, and those that followed, the path to God was never void of detours and plot twists. There seemed to be a tribulation at every turn, a divergence on every path, an inconvenience at every request. Divine appointments in the face of hunger and thirst were the norm, and purposeful announcements came when the crowds were most weary. There was always a plan and always an opportunity to give God the glory and for the disciple, always construction, refinement and development available in droves.
When Christ withdrew, the crowds would still follow and with no place to lie down and rest, Jesus would still feed and heal. The message in my parking lot was that our mission statement of washing feet is dirty and inconvenient most of the time. The clanging cymbal of 2023 and the retrospect from the pages of self-employment fetch an understanding that my feet are covered in tar and my heart is clothed in self-centeredness no matter how much I preach nor how much I reflect. It is I who is hungry, and it is I who needs the Doctor. And from the steps of fatigue and disruption, it is He alone who provides the bread and He alone who applies the balm.