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Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 KJV

Coddiwomple. It’s an English slang word, from the seventeenth century, meaning to, “travel purposely toward an as-yet-unknown destination.” That’s a good description of life as we face a new year.

I was a young sailor back in 1977 when I stepped aboard the USS Patterson in Philadelphia for my first duty. I had chosen the Northeast port because I had a romantic interest and wanted to be close to the region. The relationship fizzled and I was left disappointed in my choice of duty. I desperately wanted to be elsewhere; anywhere but the Northeast. Walking up the gang plank I was greeted with this announcement, “Welcome to the Patterson, we sail for Mayport, Florida next week.” I had no idea where Mayport was, but I did not care. Life’s currents were in full force and I was happy to set sail.

There is so much that we cannot control in this coming year. Situations at work, frustrations at home and people who come into our lives, are just a few examples of stuff beyond our ability to govern. But there is one thing firmly within our grasp and I want you to clutch it with all your strength. It’s your perspective and the attitude that follows closely behind. How you choose to view life’s surprises is an empowering thing. We tend to see life from one of two outlooks, our own, or through the eyes of others. I would suggest you reject both of these approaches. There is a third and it is rarely embraced. It is to see life from God’s vantage point. You see, His bird nest sits in eternity, and so, His purposes are long-term. He never makes a mistake.

I recently spoke with a good friend whose third child has autism. He shared the family’s struggles but then spoke of the goodness of God. The Lord has directed them to a new community of faith where they are receiving the support they need to raise their sweet little one. The depth God has brought to that family, through life’s surprise, was apparent.

As organized as some of us are, we cannot predict the next five minutes. We say we want to know the future but is that really true? How boring it would be to be handed a map on the first day of the year diagraming each new day. Where is the excitement in that? It is always the surprises of life that thrill us and sometimes challenge us.

There is so much unknown in the next three hundred plus days in 2019 that our tendency might be to hunker down in our trenches. But to keep our heads low, fearful of the unknown, is to miss the joy of living. What does 2019 hold for any of us? We just do not know but let us march boldly into the unknown, knowing God has purposes in each grand surprise. By the way, I met my beautiful wife soon after I arrived in Mayport. Let the coddiwomple begin.

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