New every morning
Life is designed to be cyclical. Things are constantly evolving, changing, growing, and unfolding; we see this in all sorts of ways. The seasons are marked and as different as they could be – and yet without the changes, how could we appreciate the beauty? If life was one long summer, we would never feel the crisp air of autumn. We would never see the death of winter, making the resurrection of the earth in the springtime that much more miraculous.
We are influenced and shaped every second by our surroundings, and the personalities of the people in our lives. New things are born in us all the time, and other things die. We have new ideas that compel us toward change and growth, new passions that drive us to explore, new convictions that cause us to rethink the way that we live. And at the same time, we let go of the old, the outgrown, the worn. We are different.
As my friend Bryan reminded me last night, our very skin is renewing itself every moment. The top 25-30 layers of cells are constantly being pushed further up and out, and then being sloughed off to reveal the new cells beneath.
I recently told my counselor, “When I wake up in the morning, I have no idea how I’m going to feel that day.” It’s really true: I open my eyes, and I think, “Am I happy, or sad? Hopeful, or despairing? Productive, or lazy?” Only time will tell as the day marches on. I am often swayed by the events of the day, and the conversations that I have. In short, I sometimes act like a victim of my circumstances, powerless to spawn a new course of action. And I rarely rest, for I am busy FREAKING OUT.
I was reading Lamentations 3 today, which is basically, well, a lament, thought to be written by the prophet Jeremiah. The first half of the chapter is a desperate mourning against God, expressing the hopelessness and despair at being forsaken: “Against me alone he turns his hand again and again… he has sated me with wormwood… he has made my teeth grind on gravel… I have forgotten what happiness is.” Such strong language, Jeremiah! “Sated me with wormwood“??? You might as well say “Filled me up with barf.” But he follows this lament by saying, “But I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
This man is crazed with hopelessness, despairing at the thought of his “affliction and homelessness.” And yet with one single thought, his outlook is completely transformed. God’s mercies are brand new every single day, and this is a constant that never changes. In the midst of the seasons of life, and the cycle of birth to death, and our very skin changing every single second, we have a steady assurance that “Everything is going to be okay.”
And it’s kind of nice to know that we never have to “arrive” anywhere. We are constantly in process, constantly growing and changing, constantly dying and being born as something entirely new. The trick is to be able to constantly cling to the love of God.