For the past four years I have benefited greatly from the teaching of Pastor Art ~ an animated & godly man given to solid Bible exposition, humor & practical applications. Recently he spoke of vicissitudes; those unbidden & unwelcome circumstances that often impact a life; those circumstances that sometimes leave us feeling all is lost. His primary point: Don't focus on what is lost (or gained), but on what remains.
The message has returned to my thoughts repeatedly. I hold it up to the light as if to see it better, or to see through it. It contains more facets than an emerald-cut diamond. Wisdom always does.
It's not such a new or novel concept ... this business of where we train our focus. But it's certainly one that percolates on the proverbial back burner, often unless or until something, or everything falls apart. We know it by it's many similes, like looking at a half full versus a half empty glass ~ which, as you probably know, takes much practice. Paul describes it this way:
I am not saying this because I am in need,
for I have learned to be content
whatever the circumstances.
I know what it is to be in need,
and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content
in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry,
whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
The remains of the year ~ a year of highs & lows, joys & sorrows, frightful possibilities & precious realities, dashed dreams & new adventures, a continued loss of youth & the garnering of age's wisdom ~ are worth treasuring. I am mindful of & grateful for the the entire lot.
No matter where I go or what I do ~ be it today or in 2014 ~ He is ALWAYS already there. What more could I possibly need?
Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know Me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth ~
for in these I delight.