Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hopes and Fears

I picked up the mail this morning on my way in from getting those last minute things I needed at the grocery store before Christmas. There was a package from Moody Publications. I wondered what that could be—and then I remembered. It was another book that I had asked to review. Yikes! As though I didn’t have enough on my plate as I launch myself into 2012.

My mind hiked back to those New Year’s get-togethers that we used to have in Colombia, South America. Of course, we were minus the cold and snow. But we were also in the land where poinsettias are bushes and orchids grow in the trees. There was (and I assume still is) a tradition that goes along with welcoming the New Year in Colombia that reminds me that there are hopes and fears connected with the future.

Medellín, where I spent almost eight years, is a city nestled in the mountains. In my days there, the airport was located in the middle of the city and the only time planes landed was during daylight hours. Even that was scary enough. On my first trip in, I was sure the wings of the aircraft were going to brush the mountainside as we descended into the airport!

But mountains also provided the backdrop for some less scary events—like the launching of globos on New Year’s Eve. A globo is basically a paper balloon. It has a little “basket” underneath that is filled with combustible material. Like a hot air balloon, once that material is lit, the balloon inflates and can be released into the air. It was great to go out on New Year’s Eve and watch all the globos float down the valley. We even launched a few of our own.

Ideally, once the combustible material was used up and the flame went out, what was left of the globo would fall harmlessly to earth. That was always the hope. Not so ideally, some globos would hit a mountain or fall to earth before the flames went out—that had other implications! That was the fear.

I can equate the life of a globo to my life—though it might be a stretch. To run out of fuel naturally, and to quietly come to the end of life is one thing. The mission is complete. To crash and burn before the natural cycle has been completed is not a good thing.

As I look toward a new year, I know how much is on my plate—including the six books I now have that need to be read and reviewed! There is a magazine to be put together, Bible studies to be prepared and taught, a book to be written, and a myriad of other ministries. I think it will be easy to crash and burn, harming myself, and others in the process. That’s my fear.

But what is my hope?

I have some verses for 2012. They are found in 1 Peter 4:10, 11 (NIV) and say: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Sometimes I operate outside of the gifts God has given, speak my words, not His, and operate in my own strength rather than His. That guarantees “crash and burn.” So my prayer and my hope for this coming year is that God will prevent me from moving beyond His perfect plan for me, a plan that comes complete with the resources to do and be all that He has designed for me.

I’m asking for the perfect globo, one that burns brightly and completes its mission successfully and naturally without putting itself and others in danger. The results of that “perfect globo” life is praise, not praise offered to me, but praise brought to Jesus Christ through my life.

Isn’t that what we all want in the end?

 

Lynda is a missionary, speaker, educator, writer, editor, and cat lover. She was born and raised in Timmins, the heart of gold mining country in northeastern Ontario, Canada. Lynda has served with Fellowship International for more than thirty years, first in Colombia, a brief stint on home staff in Toronto, Ontario and, more recently in Venezuela. She is currently on staff at First Baptist Church in Timmins, Ontario where her primary focus is spiritual formation. The author of Divine Design for Daily Living, a 365 day devotional journey through the entire Bible (published in Spanish and English),  Lynda blogs Lynda’s Grain of Sand, maintains her own website Northern Breezes , and has been seconded by Fellowship International to serve on the Communications team of The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada.

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