Thursday, January 9, 2014

Reflections from Charles Spurgeon on ushering in a new year

    Now, Brothers and Sisters, concerning this next year upon which we are entering, I hope it will be a year of happiness to you—I very emphatically wish you all a Happy New Year—but nobody can be confident that it will be a year free from trouble. On the contrary, you may be pretty confident that it will not be so, for man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward! [Job 5:7] We have each, beloved Friends, some dear faces in which we rejoice—may they long smile upon us! But remember that each one of these may be an occasion of sorrow during the next year, for we have neither an immortal child, nor an immortal husband, nor an immortal wife, nor an immortal friend and, therefore, some of these may die within the year. 
    Moreover the comforts with which we are surrounded may take to themselves wings before another year shall fulfill its months. Earthly joys are as if they were all made of snow—they melt even as the hoar frost and are gone before we conclude our thanksgiving for their coming. It may be you will have a year of drought and shortness of bread—years lean and ill-favored may be your portion. Yes, and yet more—perhaps during the year which has almost dawned, you may have to gather up your feet in the bed and die to meet your father's God. Well now, concerning this approaching year and its mournful possibilities, shall we grow gloomy and desponding? Shall we wish we had never been born or ask that we may die? By no means! 
    Shall we, on the other hand, grow frivolous and laugh at all things? No, that were ill-becoming in heirs of God. What shall we do? We will breathe this prayer, "Father, glorify Your name." That is to say, if I must lose my property, glorify Your name by my poverty! If I must be bereaved, glorify Your name in my sorrows! If I must die, glorify Your name in my departure. Now, when you pray in that fashion, your conflict is over! No outward fright nor inward fear remains if that prayer rises from the heart! You have now cast aside all gloomy forebodings and you can thoughtfully and placidly pursue your way into the unknown tomorrow. Pass on, O caravan, into the trackless desert! Still proceed into the wilderness of the future which no mortal eye has seen, for yonder fiery cloudy pillar leads the way and all is well!
"A Golden Prayer"
Metropolitan Tabernacle, morning service
December 30, 1877