Tiny Red Dots

It’s New Year’s Eve, and the tiny red dots on my phone are mocking me.

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You know the ones. They levitate on the top right corner of our app icons. They constantly notify us about unread messages, unfinished tasks, and unanswered social media. The tiny red dots tell us all the things we’ve left undone, all the people we’ve left unloved, all the work we’ve left undeveloped, and all the promises we’ve left unfulfilled.

It’s hard to end the year with tiny red dots.

It’s even harder to know that we’ll end our lives that way, too.

In 2018, two of my dear friends, Henry and Rachel, died suddenly and without warning. Their lives were gone in an instant, and I couldn’t help but feel the pain of the lost potential and the shattered dreams. Death had come at the most inopportune time, and the grief was hard to bear.

But I found comfort in these lyrics by Rich Mullins:

Sometimes the night was beautiful
Sometimes the sky was so far away
Sometimes it seemed to stoop so close
You could touch it but your heart would break
Sometimes the morning came too soon
Sometimes the day could be so hot
There was so much work left to do
But so much You’d already done

When Mullins wrote these words, he didn’t know how prophetic they would be. In 1997, he, too, died in a sudden tragedy with “much work left to do.”

But there’s hope. There’s so much God has already done!

That is the good news of Christianity. Jesus came to finish the work that we leave undone. He came into the world to love where we hate, to speak truth where we lie, and to do what is right where we fail. And after He lived for us, He died in our place.

Tiny. Red. Dots.

Beneath the cross of Jesus were tiny red dots of blood that dripped from His hands and feet. The penalty our sins deserved fell on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. Through faith in Jesus, we are made complete and righteous before God. We are adopted into God’s family, and we are being renewed day by day.

So in spite of our tiny red dots, we can sing with Mullins:

Oh God you are my God
And I will ever praise you
I will seek you in the morning
And I will learn to walk in your ways
And step by step you’ll lead me
And I will follow you all of my days

As we enter the new year, I’m praying that the tiny red dots will find new meaning for us. May they remind us of the finished work of Jesus and lead us to follow Him step by step.

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