Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Yes, We Can! - Black
Several years ago US President Barack Obama’s campaign slogan of “Yes, we can!” cut through the gloom of major economic collapse, massive employment loss, fast-evaporating confidence in American government and society, and the global economic downturn. It offered a welcome beam of light.
Those three words played a role in reigniting the flame of hope, and galvanized a sense of renewed optimism in many people. The slogan was a fitting companion to his overall theme of “change.” And now, the 44th President of the United States and the nation’s first African-American president will soon shift into higher gears in his bid to hold on to his job.
Despite his best efforts gloom persists. It seems that many Americans feel or believe that not all the changes were good – or weren’t good enough, or fast enough. And yet, the essential element of the “Yes, we can!” message is something that predates Mr. Obama and will continue to inspire many of us.
Yes, we can! Three words that can mean so much . . . can make the difference —
~ between fear and faith;
~ between at least trying and not trying at all;
~ between victory and defeat;
~ between success and failure.
Joshua and Caleb’s reconnaissance of the Promised Land (Canaan), and their subsequent report was a Yes, we can! thing. Their ten espionage colleagues’ report was a No, we can’t, thing. Yet, all twelve spies had seen the potential for bounty in the land.
“When they reached the Valley of Eshcol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs (Numbers 13:23).”
The ten No, we can’t-ers presumably tasted the grapes as well as the two Yes, we can-ers!
They’d faced many dangers in order to bring back this sample of good things to come. The people heeded the negative majority report, even although they saw the fruit of the land and some may have tasted of it. That fruit was a foretaste of what lay before them, if they would only have moved on in faith in the assurance that the Lord God was with them.
Albeit, the Lord knew they weren’t yet ready. They had many lessons to learn, and the unbelieving generation was to pass away–die in the wilderness, before a new generation would arise, prepared and ready to go in to possess the land.
The year is young. What will it hold? Will optimism fade and fall like spent fireworks from the night sky? What does all this mean for us? Have we tasted the fruit of things to come? Have we tasted that the Lord is gracious? Have we put ourselves out and ‘risked it’ in order to reach out into what is ahead and secured samples of the blessing and fruitfulness of walking by faith in Jesus?
If God does not go with and work with us, and we with Him, how can we accomplish His call on our lives? What great comfort we have through His promise to be with us (Josh. 1:8-9; Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:8).
I’ve entered this infant year with a mixture of optimism and uncertainty, since three aspects of my life that I anticipated would play a definite role in advancing my future writing and ministry aspirations are curtailed somewhat, at present:
Writing (computer work and typing), music-making (self-accompanied vocals on piano or keyboard), and piano-tuning and servicing (my pre-pastoral profession). (Through the latter skill I had hoped to in part fund my writing / publishing dreams.)
Fortunately, my commitments to provide services to nursing homes and seniors residences may still be fulfilled, although the music component is in jeopardy. A healing or effective treatment of old chronic injuries may dispel this little cloud. And yet I am at the same time optimistic, anticipating the guiding hand of God in the days ahead.
It seems that, for now, I have to learn in a new way what Paul expressed in Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength (NIV).” I take that to mean, “I can do everything [that God requires of me] through him who gives me strength.”
Hmm. Can we fulfil what He has purposed and planned for us this year? Yes, we can – if God be with us, and enables us!
Peter A. Black writes a weekly inspirational column for the Southwestern Ontario newspaper, The Watford Guide-Advocate, and is the author of "Parables from the Pond" (a Word Alive Press finalist, 2007)-- a book finding a readership from school children to senior citizens. (ISBN 1897373-21-X)
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