Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Happy birthday, Anna!

Dear Anna,

Happy 21st birthday! I was trying to think of something exciting that would be happening since you turned the magic age of 21, but there wasn’t anything especially impressive…in terms of legal matters, anyway. 
However, you are now one year closer to a few things. Actually, a lot of things, but I could never list them all.

You are one year closer to finding complete satisfaction in Christ alone. You may have family, friends, food, and shelter, but only in Christ can your longings and desires be fully satisfied. Your satisfaction rests in His atonement and in knowing that His plans for you are better and more sanctifying than your own. Your satisfaction has a sure foundation if it is based on Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone—for He alone satisfied the greatest requirement for sin.

You are one year closer to finding everlasting joy in Christ alone. As you have sought and will continue to seek happiness in life, your true joy will remain in the Giver of Joy. The circumstances around you will fluctuate, but He who is constant, never refuses joy to those who walk in His Word. Joy comes from abiding in Him and in His Word—taking in Scripture and clinging to it when all else is gone. Because when everything is stripped away, you will see where your heart lies. If it is with Christ, then your joy is complete, for you need no other because the joy of the Lord is your strength.

You are one year closer to finding eternal hope in Christ alone.  We hope for so much, and sometimes it is difficult to hold on when all seems hopeless. To give up would be easier, but our God is not a God of hopelessness, but a God of hope who desires to fill us with all joy and peace. (Romans 15:13) It is His intention that you hold on, that you look to the One who was, is, and will be faithful, and who can refresh your hope when it is fading. Hope is an action (despite what dictionaries might tell you). It’s active, and you have to keep pursing it; but you’re not pursing the concept of hope, no, you’re pursing the Person, and His well of hope never runs dry.

You are one year closer to finding lasting peace in Christ alone. Christ’s peace is not something you’ll find here. You won’t find it in a world filled with distraction, pain, and sin, but you can claim it and own it as yours even during all the confusion and hurt. If you search for peace here, you will not find it for it is found only in abiding in the knowledge that our God is the author of peace. His peace passes understanding, but you will understand a little more of what it is when you find it.

You are one year closer to finding enduring victory in Christ alone. In Genesis 3, God pronounces judgment on the serpent and foretells of his future demise. Victory was planned even before defeat occurred. God did not intend for you to wade through the Slough of Despond all your life. He has conquered sin—ALL sin. He has conquered everything evil, and it is subject to His command until He returns again when sin will be banished forever. We live in the world, but we are not of it. Our kingdom is a heavenly one—meaning we share in the privileges of it even before we get there. Temporary defeat may and likely will happen, but it is not permanent, for we serve the King who has conquered. A King who will reign with all power and authority; a King who holds the life of all creatures in His hand. And He it is who has provided enduring victory for us—because He chose to, because He loves us. 

May you know more fully the complete satisfaction, everlasting joy, eternal hope, lasting peace, and enduring victory of the Savior you serve, Anna. Complete, everlasting, eternal, lasting, and enduring: those words carry a ring of finality about them. And so it is fitting, for the One who created satisfaction, joy, hope, peace, and victory will have the final word at the consummation of the age. May you walk as a daughter of the King Who has already conquered, and may you be blessed as you seek Him and serve others.

Love in Christ,


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