The Gate of the Year

Splish. Splosh. Splash.  I should have pulled on my rubber chore boots instead of my suede snow boots to walk down the drive and deliver my envelopes to the mailbox, but I hadn’t expected puddles and mud in January. Snow had melted and puddles had grown until rivulets ran down the hill.  The snow had inhaled the the glorious sunshine one day and exhaled it the next in a dense fog.

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I peered left, then right into the mist before crossing the road, but the cars and trucks were nearly to my driveway before I could see them–and then only as headlights and ghostly shapes.

Then I paused to listen.  I could hear the cars long before I could see them. So I trusted a different sense to help me safely ford the asphalt road and the January thaw running alongside its shoulders.

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Waiting to recross the road, I wondered would I be brave enough to travel these fog-obscured roads at 60 mph? Perhaps, since I knew the road so well and remembered where it dipped, where it curved to the east, and where it met the highway at the bottom of the hill. I could depend on memory, but what did the men and women who had never driven this stretch of road depend on? Faith.

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Faith that the road did not halt suddenly at the edge of a precipice,

faith that the painted yellow and white markers led somewhere,

faith that the driver in the car in front knew where he was going,

faith in the few glimpses of familiar roadside objects:  mailboxes, ghostly trees, and cross-like telephone poles,

faith that the sun would shine again and that the wind would rise sharp and scrape away the fog.

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 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

1 Cor. 13:12   MSG

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*          *          *          *          *          *

I watched a 1940 James Stewart movie recently, The Mortal Storm, an anti-Nazi film released the year before the United States entered WWII. The movie ends with a quote from the poem commonly known as The Gate of the Year. The poem had become popular after Great Britain’s King George VI quoted from it in his 1939 Christmas broadcast.

“The Gate of the Year” or “God Knows” by Minnie Louise Haskins

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

We may not be facing the unknowns of  World War II, as Britain was, but we all face uncertainties in life.

We travel a road together that ultimately leads into the “undiscover’d country,” a place Hamlet spoke of as the land after death. If you’re not familiar with Shakespeare, maybe you remember the phrase “undiscovered country” reinterpreted in the movie Star Trek VI to mean the future.

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None of us knows the future. Every January we face the unknown of a new year. Will this year be a time of peace or war? Weddings or funerals? Health or sickness? It is all uncharted land.

We can listen to the advice given by the keeper at the “gate of the year” and step into the dark fog with faith, placing our hand into the hand of God.

For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.

Isaiah 41:13   NIV

Posted on January 14, 2016, in Devotional and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. Thank you, Connie!

  2. I love this – the poem – how the outside inhaled sunshine and exhaled the fog, and the sweet message of hope! We haven’t had snow yet – just lots and lots of rain! I’m waiting for the sky to exhale snow!

  3. Your reflections are just, wise , reassuring and encouraging . A healthy interpretations of biblical texts , relevant , meaningful comparisons … thank you

  4. This is especially pertinent as my husband and I learn to live by faith each day, trusting God for provision and guidance. Thankful that God gave you for my neighbor @ Essential Fridays.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  5. Your post is just right for the beginning of the year. Thank-you for sharing the poem!

  6. In running today I looked upon a mist-covered landscape and it made me reflect on similar things. Love the poem you shared and the Message version of the 1 Corinthians Scripture you shared. Powerful truth to rest in.

  7. This road reminds me of the one near my mother. One I’m not comfortable driving on whatever the conditions! With all the distractions for drivers, I am the mother who grips the wheel tightly and always says a prayer before we head out! Love your message on faith.

  8. Stepping into the unknown (or driving into it) is a fearsome thing, but a necessary thing to stay on our journey. I definitely would NOT have wanted to drive on those roads. ha. Thanks for the reminder to do it hand in hand with our Savior.

    • The fog was actually worse than shown in the photos. By the time I got back to the house, readied my camera, and walked back down to the road, the fog had started to clear.

      When the future is known and skies are sunny, I feel as if I don’t need God as much, so the unknown, the thick fog is a blessing because it drives me to hold God’s hand.

  9. what a stunning post Constance! So beautifully written, you took me on a journey to the heart of God. And I love that poem, it’s amazing..I never read that before..what a treat! I’m visiting from #playdatesfor God today, and so glad I was drawn to your post..

  10. Absolutely loved this! Thank you!

  11. These bright faith-filled thoughts are perfect for this wintry day. Always so happy to see your sunflowers!

  12. The idea of relying upon different senses (hearing not sight) resonates for me – it’s hard to let go of the familiar to learn something new, but our sense of life deepens and widens as we do.

  13. Though we each enter unchartered land, we can stand strong with courage as we face each day… Our boldness comes from the knowledge that God has a plan and that it is a good one! No matter what trials swirl around us in the days to come, we can rest assured knowing that our future is secured with Him! What a comfort and a blessing!

    Placing my faith in Him, Joan

    • You’re so right, Joan! We have faith that God’s plans are plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jer 29:11). Thanks for your words of courage while facing the undiscovered country.

  14. THANK-YOU Friend! from only a prayer away…

  15. I just love that poem. Thank you for a very encouraging post.

  16. very nice pics thanks for sharing . even in the dimness we can have faith.

  17. I’m glad the poem could be a blessing to you, Christine!

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