I have a friend whose son has a form of autism. It’s a rather mystifying condition that presents with many different kinds of symptoms. One of the problems this boy has is called the “blank face syndrome.” For some reason his brain does not recognize the details in faces. Even faces that should be familiar, like those of family and close friends, appear blank to him. You can imagine the difficulties that arise as a result. I noticed the problem when I would greet this young man at our church. I'd say hello, or good morning; he would frown and squint and say nothing. After a while I realized if I said more than a word or two, he would recognize my voice and respond.
I thought about that as I contemplated the ending of 2006 and the beginning of 2007. The year ahead is a lot like a blank face to me. Because we are launching into a year of so much change - two daughters leaving home and a third being married, a move to a different community and different ministry, a book coming out and opportunities for speaking and teaching opening up - I find myself trying to see what that will all look like.
How will we cope with the empty nest? What strategies will be effective in planting the new church? What kind of ‘day jobs’ will we have and how will that affect the other aspects of our lives? Will my book be successful and will I have time to do the other writing I want/need to do? What are the best strategies for promoting the book? Will the sequel be accepted by the same publisher? There are a lot of questions about the future.
None of the details of the face of 2007 are clear and I’m finding it a little disconcerting. So when I opened my e-mail inbox the other day and read these two scriptures, my heart was lightened and my spirit soared -
“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19 KJV). “And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8 KJV).
What comfort to know that God is making a way - and not just an ordinary ho-hum kind of way, but a way that leads to things that will spring forth like rivers in a desert! What comfort to know He will be with us then, as He is walking with us now and will remain right here beside us, no matter what.
I guess I can stop squinting, stop trying to see the details of what might be in the days, weeks and months ahead. All I need to do is slip my hand into the hand being held out to me and trust that its owner knows the way – the best way – and will lead us through to blessings.