Unwrap His Presence.

People tend to pick favorites.

Their favorite car.  Favorite football team.  Favorite shirt and favorite holiday.  Perhaps you’ve picked a favorite day.

Not to exclude the opportunity for thrill any other day of the year, but if I were to chose a favorite day, I’d be inclined to chose January 1.  It really doesn’t get any “newer” than the opening day to a new year.  I recognize that for many adults, January 1 is often a rough day.  There may be some unfortunate soles out there today struggling through their workday with a hangover.  I recall being 17 and spending New Year’s Eve with a buddy of mine at his uncle’s house.  After a night of pool playing and pretending we knew how to make screwdrivers (the alcoholic drink involving orange juice and vodka), I had successfully achieved my first drunken experience.  Consequently, the next day was a bit rough for me for as it turned out, I had to be at work at 8am.  For me, it was a life lesson: the world still wakes up despite your foolishness the night before.

January 1

iPhone on January 1, 2011.

This morning as I opened my eyes a little after 11AM (bear in mind, that’s extremely abnormal for me, but, then again, so is working until 4AM), I awoke refreshed, in love, and thankful.  There was no hangover and no evidence of foolish ramblings.  I grabbed my phone to check the time and for any unanswered text messages, and saw the date: “January 1.”  It was then that it occurred to me, “I like this date.  It’s new.  It’s a new year.”

Many like to wash their hands of the previous year.  Commonly they’ll make statements like, “thank God we’re on a new year,” or, “Phew, we made it one more year!”  It’s a bit disturbing and inspires inclination to think that life is really just a struggle.  It’s as if the whole point is to just make it one more year.

But, God has a different idea.  See, God’s much more specific.  In the beginning he created everything in days.  Not years.  And, while I recognize this may be an opportunity to debate what a “day” is to our Lord, that’s really beside the point.  No matter what your thoughts are on the duration of God’s day, He created everything we have come to know exists in six days.  Brand new creation.  Fresh start.  New.

God then created man and a partner.  God assigned us a specific task: to know and glorify Him.  Period.  God’s specific.  God created us precious, unique and unrepeatable and within each and every one of us He installed a purpose and a passion.  While He understands that at times we may not understand this simple truth, He’s patient.  At times it may feel like God has abandoned us, like we’re left out in the cold, alone.  But, as He told us through the prophet Isaiah, His ways are higher than our own.  His understanding is far beyond our ability to even imagine an understanding.  Who are we to think we have God figured out?

During those moments of despair I like to remind myself of a cartoon I once saw.  It was two drawn frames.  In the first it showed a man under a rain cloud getting soaked and by the expression on his face he didn’t seem too happy about it.  The second frame depicted the same man, same rain cloud, and same disgruntled face.  However, it was from a farther perspective.  In this frame it showed the man surrounded by a forest fire, and clearly the rain was protecting him.  At times, God may have you in the rain to prevent even an even hotter situation.  In fact, at times it may take the rain to save your life!

Never discount the blessing hidden inside the burden.  For if you love God, all things come together for God.  It’s His promise!

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

He created you with a purpose.  A mission.  A task.  The gift of live is a miracle in itself, and therefore, treasure every day!  While today (January 1) may be the start of new resolutions and promises for many, it’s really just another day created by the master, Himself.  I’m reminded of a church sign that read: “Today is a gift.  That’s why it’s called the Present.”

It is.  A gift.  And God wants you to unwrap it!  So, tear the paper off your life, toss the garbage away, and run into His presence (presents)!  He loves you and wants to hold you, and remember, at times He brings the rain to prevent the fire.  You can trust Him.  God has never said, “oops.”

Verse to remember:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)