I had gone to visit Hubert at the hospital where he was awaiting the amputation of a second leg. His first amputation had taken place several years earlier. Having been a severe diabetic for some years he knew that his life might come to this tragic occasion someday. Removing his other leg would extend his life while at the same time transforming it irrevocably.
I was Hubert's pastor and friend, but there seemed to be nothing I could say that would even begin to comfort him. He knew that this surgery was just one more step toward his body's giving out entirely. We talked about his feelings, and he seemed very philosophical about the operation. Yet I still sensed a deep sadness, and as we talked and prayed I wished from the depths of my heart that I could do more. I knew that what I had to offer Hubert was limited.
As I was about to leave, feeling that my visit had brought very little comfort to my friend, there was a knock at his hospital room door. In walked a man on two protheses having already lived through two leg amputations. This visitor had a greater authority to speak a word of comfort because of his previous suffering. God had turned his tragedy into a gift, a gift he shared with Hubert.
Generous God, thank you that our tragedies can be turned into blessings for others. Amen.
These scriptures chosen to mark the new year give us a panorama of perspectives, from Ecclesiastes as a poetic musing on how life is measured out in seasons, to the vision in Revelation of what we commonly consider the end of time itself. Psalm 8 asks what the role is for humans in God’s magnificent creation. At the core of these scriptures is a strong sense of God’s presence and loving steadfastness in which we can rest.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-13. In what season of life do you find yourself? What are you praying for in this season?
Read Psalm 8. How do you feel when you read the psalmist’s words that God has created humans “a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor” (Ps. 8:5)?
Read Revelation 21:1-6a. How is the vision of a new heaven and new earth described here good news for you? What do you see God making new in the world around you?
Respond by posting a prayer.