It is hard to come up with a title all the time that starts with "Unfolding...," so I'll probably stop doing that. Be aware of the change. I like change...most of the time. I changed the layout of my blog. It had been the same for months. I like endings and new beginnings. My favorite holiday is New Year's Eve, not New Year's Day, New Year's Eve. I like the ending of one year and the beginning of a new one. It brings with it the idea of a fresh start, not knowing what the New Year will bring. Sometimes we get to the end of the year and wish it would have been different. Sometimes we can look back and reminisce about exciting things that occurred. Regardless, we should always be thankful.
I taught this past weekend on the 70 years of exile when the kingdom of Judah was taken captive by Babylon. You know the story of Daniel. This was at the same time. The Judeans had prophets come to them before they were taken captive to tell them what they needed to do to prevent their destruction. They didn't do it. They enjoyed their sin too much to care about God. God never stopped loving them, though. Even through Jeremiah, the prophet, God told them they'd spent 70 years in captivity but also told them there was hope for their future.
These people were taken captive after being attacked by the Babylonians. They were forcefully removed from their homes, their land, and their families. I can only imagine the cruelty they were subjected to by the Babylonians. It is remarkable to me that through all of it Jeremiah still was able to say in Lamentations, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'"
It is easy to be thankful when things are going well, but we are to be thankful in all situations. "...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thessalonians 5:18
I would be remiss if I didn't thank God for protecting us last week. We were on our way to a birthday party in Washington. I drove the back roads since it was the quickest way there. As I neared a bend, I looked ahead and saw an 18-wheeler headed down the hill. A guy behind him decided - on the bend, down the hill - to pass him. It was not a passing zone!! I slowed down, but the truck was barreling down the hill. This guy in his SUV had just enough time to swerve between me and the truck to get back into his lane. I was pretty sure he was going to crash because he was losing control since he was driving so fast, but he didn't. We were all safe. So, thank you, God, for protecting us!!