Everywhere I have gone in recent days it seems that all around me everything has been under some form of construction. Some of it has been new construction, others more a renovation. But regardless, the work being done has complicated my life by requiring detours, new routes, and in some cases a reversal of course. Needless to say, my level of exasperation has at times threatened to register off the charts.
Consequently, I have rediscovered the process of “centering prayer,” which is a form of prayer designed to focus one’s thoughts and energies on God’s abiding presence. In other words, if I can sense God’s nearness in what seems to me to be utter chaos, I then find that whatever changes my circumstances demand become more adventure than interruption.
I’ve also learned other lessons in this act of discipline. I’ve learned that in every situation what seems to me to be chaos in fact holds purpose and possibility. For example, the new construction with which I must contend reflects progress and development, and the ability of the company or institution to expand its mission to the community. And in the category of renovation I’ve come to appreciate how the refurbishment reflects appreciation for that which is being addressed and a desire to be good stewards of the public trust. Maybe all of this reflection seems a stretch to you, but it has been working for me, at least enough to keep me balanced.
There’s one other lesson I’ve learned in all of these recalculations, a lesson that applies to my own faith journey. Nothing in life is static. Everything either declines until someone works to refurbish it so that it retains its value or replaces it so that it develops more value than it had before. I have often seen that principle at work in my faith journey. I’m either growing in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ or I’m “backsliding,” as Baptists are wont to describe it. The backsliding part doesn’t take much effort. But the growth part requires our constant attention and, more importantly, our openness to divine grace.
So, as you begin to think about the state of your life and your faith in this New Year, I invite you to join me in considering what needs to be “under construction” in you. Whether it is something that requires a tweak or some fine tuning, or something that requires a significant rebuild, know that grace is sufficient for your every need and faith can keep you moving with peace and joy along the straight and narrow paths to which God calls us all in Jesus Christ.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).