I always love the first morning of a holiday. I like to wake up early and go into a room where I can watch the sun rise and enjoy the beauty of my surroundings. We are experiencing a long drought in South Africa at the moment so the last things I expected to see were clouds. Imagine my surprise on this particular holiday in January when the weather had been so very hot to find grey mist and no sun visible at all. I wrote this little piece during my quiet time with God, and was surprised to discover how it was relevant to my life and to the hope and anticipation I felt for the new year. I hope it gives you hope too, whatever your circumstances at the current time.
What lies ahead?
The tiny bush in the middle of the patch of grass is weighed down with heavy dew-drops. There is no wind and yet it dips and bobs its branches like one in rapt worship as drops of precious water gather, grow and fall to the ground, bringing life to the plant itself as the roots absorb each nourishing drop.
A little further away, larger bushes do the same. But they are the limit of my view. I know, from previous visits here that beyond is a deep valley, glorious fynbos, wild animals, and far, far beyond, mountains to the sky. But on this, my first morning in this gracious place, there is low cloud – thick mist – so I can see no further than the ring of bushes that surrounds the house.
And I think this is a little picture of life for one who follows Christ. Weighed down by cares or showered by blessings, we bow in worship. There are times when life hits us hard and blessings are difficult to find – but they are there, even when we cannot see them for even so, they gather on our lives and we worship our Creator.
At this time of the year we look forward and can only see a little way ahead. Maybe the ring of bushes is a series of challenges or, possibly, protection. Perhaps it hides opportunities undreamed as yet. And then there is the cloud – veiling the future from our sight and our consciousness.
The valley is steep and low. Would we step into our future if we could see it? The animals are large and dangerous – life-threatening if we are taken unawares; the mountains are very far away, and may present other obstacles about which we know nothing this misty morning.
Yet even as I imagine the scene in my mind’s eye, the mist brightens slightly, and the dewdrops on the little bush sparkle briefly as the cloud thins for a moment and the sun penetrates its greyness and lights up the scene with sparkling diamonds and hints of colour.
Suddenly the cares weighing the believer down turn into blessings, just as the heavy dew turns into diamonds on the little bush before me. Suddenly the future does not seem to be so grey as the light of the Son illuminates the scene, bringing colour and a glimpse of what lies ahead. Suddenly, the ring of bushes reveals a way through, visible now in the weak sunlight.
So I, the Christ-follower, put my hand in the hand of the Son to move forward into the future – still unseen, but, considered in the light of the Son, no longer a daunting place. The valley can be crossed with His help; the wild animals can be conquered with Him by my side; and the mountains can be scaled, no matter how high, as He holds the rope to help me climb to the sky – my eternal home.
A misty, grey morning speaks strongly to me of the year ahead – my future in companionship with Christ. I cannot see the way – yet He is the way; I cannot see bright colours – yet He is the artist, the Bestower of blessings; I cannot see what lies ahead, yet He is the Son who will reveal the path step by step into eternity.
And my heart sings with the birds as the hidden sun rises higher and begins to tint the sky with blue.
All is well with my world, for Christ is here.