The Gospel Coalition
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. Ps. 115:1-4"Dear Heavenly Father, it’s the last day of 2013, and I’m feeling a degree of redemptive conflicted-ness, as both laughter and lament dance around my heart. It’s a good tension—one created by, not in spite of, the presence of your grace.
Looking back over the past twelve months, I can easily say with the psalmist, “Be praised, adored and worshiped, O God, for your steadfast love and great faithfulness!” Abba, Father, you loved us all year long, with a relentless, non-wavering, fully engaged affection—irrespective of anything we did or didn’t do.
You loved me as much as you love your Son, Jesus, for you’ve hidden my life in his. Thank you for the fresh mercies that arrived with each new day—when I was aware of them and when I wasn’t. You remained faithful to everything you’ve promised us in Jesus. You did everything that pleases you, and what pleases you is always for my good and your glory. That makes me very glad.
But Father, it’s because of your love for us in Jesus that I can also own my sadness. I lament the times, this past year, when the gospel wasn’t functionally enough for me; when your love didn’t seem “better than life”; when grace didn’t seem sufficient. That’s when I took my thirst and hunger, disappointments and longings to my voiceless, sightless, senseless, powerless idols. I grieve my foolishness.
But here’s where the gladness trumps the sadness: I won’t always be a man “in two minds” with a divided heart beating in my breast. Father, you will complete the good gospel work you’ve begun in us. One Day I’ll no longer even be tempted to worship, love or serve, anything or anyone but you. Hasten that glad and glorious Day.
On the eve of 2014, prepare each of us, your children, for twelve new months of groaning and growing in grace. In the New Year, may Jesus be more beautiful and precious to us than ever; your love more compelling and your grace more transforming; your presence more real and your kingdom more treasured; your name more exalted and your glory more sought. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name."
Scotty Smith, a native of Graham, North Carolina, is a graduate of the University of North Carolina (BA in religion); Westminster Theological Seminary (MAR) and Covenant Theological Seminary (DMin). After planting and pastoring Christ Community Church, Franklin, Tennessee, for 26 years, Scotty has most recently assumed a position on the pastoral staff of West End Community Church, as teacher in residence. He also serves as adjunct faculty for Covenant Seminary, Westminster (Philadelphia), Redeemer Seminary (Dallas), RTS in Orlando, and most recently, Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.