We cleaned out a storage unit recently and, in so doing, we came across a number of boxes that contained – who knows what! We couldn’t tell from the outside of the boxes and we had no recollection of what we had stowed in them. So we had a type of retro-vintage-Christmas when we opened the boxes to see what they had sheltered for so long.
After going through several boxes, I re-discovered Jan and Jill.
These two dolls are, today, lovingly called “vintage” rather than simply “old”. They came into my possession in the late 1950s and I recall playing with them often. As an only child, they could be my friends on rainy days and I could tell them my thoughts without fear that they would blab! The box also contained their four-poster bed and closet, complete with drawers and hangers.
A separate box contained quite an assortment of clothes for the duo. Of course the box also contained the accoutrements of the dolls’ haute couture such as earrings, shoes, leggings, a swimsuit, etc.
These dolls reminded me of a different time and place – when I was young and living with my parents. The future was ahead of me and I could tell the dolls all the things that might happen, of course in my anticipation there was only good and no pain or sorrow. Neither the dolls nor I had any ability to affect the course of history, I was just dreaming about what would happen down the road.
The dolls didn’t know they would wind up in boxes that were enclosed in other cartons which moved from house to house, city to city, and ultimately to an off-site storage unit, along with old magazines, records, tax returns, and junk.
I didn’t know that I would move several times before and after college; that my mother would die when I was 21 years of age; that I would go to graduate school long after college; that I would have children and grandchildren; or that I would retire after a 30-year long career in one place. I didn’t know that I would have numerous health issues, many related to the effects of the polio I had as an infant, or that there would be times in my life that I believed I would not be able to handle another day.
No, I had no idea of any of that – but I do know Who did!
My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, came to me when I was a young girl, speaking of His love and sacrifice for me. I did as Paul described in Romans 10:9-11:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
Salvation is through faith in Christ alone. Nothing that I could do would merit my adoption by God and none of my “good works” will accomplish, affect or influence my salvation; because I am a sinner, and the Holy God cannot look upon sin. Isaiah 6. Rather, because of the righteousness that Christ has provided for me, I have forgiveness and I can now call God my Father. Galatians 4:6. I still sin, but I have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I can confess my sin, repent from it and turn to Jesus. Ephesians 2:8.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
While I am still a sinner, I am no longer controlled by sin. God’s Son has set me free from the control of sin. Praise the Lord.
So, I don’t need to know the future. God has it in His hands and He loves me because of His Son’s sacrifice for me. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
The Lord God Who said these words regarding His people in the Old Testament is the same God Who cares for His New Testament/New Covenant people. That would be you and me, Beloved, if you are a believer in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Indeed, Jesus said:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
John 10:27-29. [The emphasis is mine.]
I know that the Jan and Jill dolls cannot remember what I confided in them when I was a young girl. And, if they had the ability to do so, they would likely wonder what their next phase in life will be. That, of course, is in my hands. Unless I find some young girl who would like to have them, they may find themselves on a shelf as a reminder of days long gone.
For me, now that I have retired, I know that my future is not in my hands. It is in the Hands of my Savior. My job now is to pray for guidance from the Lord Jesus Christ, and then to reconfigure my days to follow the course that He has laid out for me.
While I don’t know the future, I do know Who holds my hand. And, I have absolute trust that He will continue to hold my hand through whatever else this life has in store for me and on into the next, where I will join my Savior and the great cloud of witnesses who have gone on before me. Hebrews 12:1.
Praise His Holy Name.
Father, thank You for the gift of Jesus Christ Who paid the debt created by my sin. Thank You that the righteousness You require is not my own but that my Savior has covered me in His righteousness. Thank You that, because of Jesus, I can come before You, not only in Heaven after death but also now in prayer and in worship, and I can call You Father. I praise Your Glorious Name, through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.