Have A Mind-Boggling New Year

President John F. Kennedy stood before a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961 and made the announcement that would change the world:

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.[1]

When Kennedy cast the vision for a "man on the moon" it was dramatic and ambitious. But when Neil Armstrong stepped off the lunar module and onto the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969, it was mind-boggling.

I was a ten-year-old boy when man touched moon. On any other summer day I would be swimming, playing a pick-up game of baseball out in the street, or dreaming up a crazy plan to "set sail" on the canal near our house. On this day childish play gave way to celestial wonder. Glued to our black and white television, I witnessed the Eagle landing and the astronaut walking. Forty years later it is still a mind-boggling feat.

Webster tells me that mind-boggling is "that which is mentally or emotionally exciting or overwhelming."[2]

What could possibly be more mind-boggling than walking on the moon? How about this: The God who created the moon has his eyes fixed on you and his ears tuned in to your prayers.

Peter wrote a letter to Christians scattered over what is now modern-day Turkey. Life was tough for them. They endured suffering and slander, ill-treatment and ill-tempers. Their circumstances cried out that God did not care and that God was not there. So God sent them a message through Peter to provide some ballast for their storm-tossed souls:

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. 1 Peter 3:12 ESV

If there were ever a truth to bolster us for both the expectancy and the uncertainty of a New Year, this is it. God sees . . . God cares . . . God hears. There is no asterisk attached to that verse, no explanatory footnote describing conditions that don't apply.

God sees . . . God cares . . . God hears. This is true for every day no matter the circumstances you encounter.

I thank God for that.

I have been sick twice in the last 40 days. In fact, I was under the weather almost thirty of those forty days. While I am better now, my more recent bout was, without exaggeration, the worst of my life. God seemed to hide during this time. I didn't feel his presence. In fact, I got a very small sense of how Job might have felt when things fell apart.

Reading God's word was a great reminder that despite my feelings to the contrary, God sees, God cares, and God hears.

I got an "Amen" to Peter's words watching the Ravens-Colts football game yesterday afternoon. The Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis recently announced that he is retiring after 17 seasons. Lewis looks like he is chiseled from a stout slab of granite. He is--from a physical standpoint--"a man's man." He is also one of the games best, a perennial Pro Bowler. All eyes were on Lewis. Cameras followed him after the game. As he peeled off his jersey and pads at the end of the contest, his plain dark t-shirt had one thing neatly printed across the top: "Psalm 91." Here is a portion of that Psalm.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,

    my God, in whom I trust.”

 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler

    and from the deadly pestilence.

 He will cover you with his pinions,

    and under his wings you will find refuge.

Psalm 91:1-4 ESV

Yes, God sees . . . God cares . . . God hears. I pray God steadies you with that truth. May you have a mind-boggling New Year!


[1] "A Special Address to Congress On The Importance of Space" by John F. Kennedy, Jr. May 25, 1961. www.homeofheroes.com. Accessed January 6, 2013.

[2] www.Mirriam-Webster.com.