As I pen this message, I gaze out the window to the barn and pasture where the horses are frolicking in the fresh snow that fell last night. My eye follows the ridgeline up to the mountain’s majestic height that disappears into the clouds as though the top weren’t there. Yet, aware that behind the heavy clouds are crags, cliffs, canyons, rocks, small lakes, scrub oak, fir and pine trees. This beautiful scene rises to more than 10,000 feet, which on a clear day takes your breath away and expresses the expansive grandeur of God’s infinite creation.
Life can change from moment to moment just as nature changes. As the clouds move in our lives, they obscure the vision of the greatness and beauty that is there before us. We are so programmed to stare into the clouds of our minds, we start reflecting on the past, and before we realize it, we are feeling the downward spiraling effect of our attitude and energy. But the clouds also bring snow and rain to cleanse the atmosphere and refresh the air we breathe, nourish the land so we can grow our crops, and replenish the streams for the aquatic life. Without those clouds, we would not have the nourishment needed to sustain ourselves.
When it is hot and dry in the summer, we pray for rain which comes with the clouds and we rejoice. In the winter, we pray for snow as it only comes with clouds and again we rejoice. Why? Because we know what the outcome will be when it rains and snows.
However, when clouds obscure our minds we retreat into fear, and in most cases make unproductive choices that we later regret. As I reflect back over the past year, I feel excitement and anticipation for tomorrow. I see the good we have accomplished that has touched so many people and blessed their lives. When you smile the world smiles. When you laugh, the world laughs. When you change little things inside of you, the world changes. When you are happy, the world is happy. When you feel love, the world is loved. On the other side, when you cry, the world cries for you. When you hurt, the world hurts. When you are depressed, the world is depressed. I thank God daily that the little differences I make now can mean huge differences in the lives of many tomorrow. Yes, it is important to reflect back occasionally to enable us to better focus on the present time. But do not let the past cloud your mind or take you out of the present time. Do not live in fear of the past. Those who live by their fears will not find freedom in God’s love.
God said, “I am divine presence. I am eternal life. I am with you. Abide in me and I in you. For without me you can do nothing” (John 15). I would suggest that you reflect this holiday season if an anxious thought or depressing feeling can add a single day to your life. Yes, there have been moments of doubt and discouragement that come as other people try to steal and destroy. Psalms 140 says it very well, but the key is verse 13: “Dwell in thy presence.” Living in the past or future veils God from our sight and restricts our relationship with Him.
Take time to be silent and listen to the new sound—silence. Silence is the moment of present time. Psalms 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.” The more we can spend in the present time this holiday season, the greater the empowerment God has on this earth. This will be the greatest change and gift that can come to all. Sing praises, read His word, do good to all, and stay in the present time.
Merry Christmas and have an essential New Year of joy, abundance, living with passion in the present time, and reaching your highest potential.
D. Gary Young