"return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning."
13 Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
14 Who knows? He may turn and have pity
and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the LORD your God.
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
declare a holy fast,
call a sacred assembly.
The future is uncertain...and the choices you made in the past have brought you to this moment. God does not expect you to look to your mistakes and ill-judged decisions to bring you through. He wants you to look to Him. If you ask for forgiveness, He will not hold your past against you. He loves you. The only way to protect your future is to become closely acquainted with the Lord.
As the economy falters, and unemployment rises, do not fear. All those who trust in the Lord will find a shelter and peace of mind. I know we dread living in fearful times. I am reminded of a conversation from The Lord of the Rings Book I, The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. This conversation took place between the hobbit Frodo Baggins and Gandalf when dark times were approaching Middle Earth.
I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo.
'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'
And so it is for all of us! We have no choice in deciding whether times will be good, or bad. We are unable to move forward in time or change the times around us. All we can do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us. Choose to serve the Lord. Live in peace with one another. Pray one for another. Bear one another's burdens. So in this year of new beginnings, let us take to our hearts the words of the Apostle Paul:
Hebrews 121Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. NIV