Several years ago my dear friend and former Pastor Vernon Gundermann, now in heaven, shared with me A New Year Prayer. Frankly, I don’t recall whether he was the author. But that wouldn’t surprise me one bit. And unless someone demonstrates otherwise, he gets the credit.
The words of Vern’s prayer are particularly poignant. His last months of life on earth were full of challenges and burdens brought by the disease that captivated his body. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, was the culprit.
The gradual but progressive death of neurons controlling his voluntary muscles transformed his athletic frame to one of virtual incapacity. Yet through it all, Vern demonstrated a rare and inspirational mixture of grace and peace.
He knew who he was. He knew whose he was. And he knew where he was going, beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Here’s his prayer, which is also my prayer for you:
A New Year Prayer
May God make your coming year a happy one!
Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain,
But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making your path easy,
But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you,
But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making your life always pleasant,
But by showing you when people and their causes need you most;
And by making you anxious to be there to help.
God’s love, peace, hope, and joy abound in you and your loved ones in the year ahead!
Happy New Year! A Blessed 2020!