From 1961 to 1965, the game show, ‘Seven Keys’, was aired and hosted by Jack Narz. I remember watching it on rainy summer days or when ill and home from school. The contestant worked his/her way through 70 squares similar to the rules of ‘Shoots and Ladders’. The goal was to win a key that would unlock a prize. With seven keys and seven locks from which to choose, it would be a rare occasion to win the grand prize.
On this last day of the year you may find yourself reflecting on the choices you have made over the past twelve months – some of them unlocked wonderful experiences, some of them ended in something less than grand. The tragedy would be if you have to drag those ‘less than grand’ prizes into 2016. The Seven Keys contestant, if she or he won a key, had a choice to make – pick a key and a lock or come back the next day and attempt to win another key. Once the key was chosen and entered into the lock, the decision was final and good or grand, the game was over.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when a poor decision was made, you could cry out, ‘Do over!’ But… money was spent that cannot be recovered; unkind words were spoken that cannot be retrieved; an action betrayed a trust and the domino effect seems to never stop. I can’t remember how many times I have so desperately wanted to cry, ‘Do over!’ and make all the bad disappear. It’s a hopeless situation…or is it?
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is found in the words of God recorded by the prophet, Joel. Israel had made some bad choices over a long period of time and they were chastised by the LORD – oppression, famine, plague. And then there was this marvelous word of hope. Joel 2:25, “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.” In response to God’s people confessing and repenting of their sins, somehow the LORD was able to ‘restore’, compensate, for all those wasted years.
Wouldn’t you love the year of 2016 to be ‘the year of restoration’? It can be, if like Israel you confess your sin of ‘doing it your own way’ and determine that by God’s grace and strength you will: Trust God even when you can’t trace Him, you will Lean on the wisdom of His Word rather than your knowledge and experience and you will Acknowledge His right to lead you each step of the next 366 days.
Dear child of God, the key to the Christian life is trusting in the promises of God and obeying His every command. Do this and in spite of what was lost this year, you can begin to see God restore it in the next. And…how wonderful it will be to hear, ‘You have won the grand prize!’ “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
Think about it.