In the fall of 1977, I struggled mightily to get my Calculus grade from an F to a D. Worn out from a heavy academic load, I looked forward to flying to Idaho to spend the holidays with my girlfriend and my favorite aunt and uncle. Just weeks before leaving, I received a “Dear John” letter from Julie, graciously letting me know that she was seeing someone in California and wanted to break up. On top of that bad news, this was the last year that West Point had final exams after the holidays meaning I had much studying to do over the last two weeks of December. My heart was heavy and my mind was not on math. When I returned to New York I scored the lowest in the entire class on the Calculus exam, failed the course, and had to go to summer school.
In the fall of 1978, my A3 company mates knew I was homesick. During our Christmas party, Santa Claus invited me to sit on his lap. He handed me an envelope and asked me to open it. Inside I found a round trip ticket to Manila and extra cash. Without my knowing it, the company and community had raised money so I could go home for the first time in almost two years. What a fantastic surprise to knock on the door in the Philippines opened by parents who had no idea I was coming home!
Psalm 138:2,8—I will bow down towards Your holy temple and give thanks to Your name for Your constant love and truth. You have exalted Your name and Your promise above everything else. . . The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me. LORD, Your love is eternal; do not abandon the work of Your hands.
It seems ironic that two of my most poignant Christmas memories occurred back to back. In reflecting over them I am struck by many thoughts. I needed a dumping to learn that a first love was not the same as God’s love and failure is not the end of the world. A ticket taught me how amazing the Father’s touch is. In truth, every day of every year God is working to fulfill His purpose for me. Whether I crawl through the dankest bog of the valley or stand atop the most pristine mountain, God’s love is no different. But He uses both places to teach me about myself and more importantly—Himself.
The search for happiness and meaning can too often be at the cost of missing the Master’s handiwork. God is not concerned with how wonderful our Christmas is or isn’t. His concern is in fulfilling His purpose for us. That purpose is that we would know that His Name and His promise are what should be exalted. That purpose is that we would trust His constant love and truth. Jesus’ birth is the fulfillment of David’s prayer, “Lord do not abandon the work of Your hands.”
Jesus modeled what it looks like for God’s purpose to be fulfilled—through pain, rejection, frustration, fatigue, disgust, anger, despair, hurt, suffering and betrayal as well as joy, pride, compassion, euphoria, power, affection, humor, mercy, healing and flying. When the Son of God rose so did our hope. No matter what your circumstances do you believe that God loves you and that He is working to fulfill His purpose for you? Certainly that is something to think about . . . in reveration. Merry Christmas!
©2013 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)