“I’m so ready for 2016 to be over and start a new year!"
I’ve caught myself agreeing with this statement, especially looking over the events of the year and remembering the hard times. It’s really easy to get swept into the sparkling freshness of 365 days of "no mistakes yet” (as Anne Shirley would say), and shrug off the previous year like you would peel a potato.
If we look back, however, was 2016 really any different from any other year? Has any year been overflowing only with delightful things for 365 days? Or 52 weeks spent in complete darkness with no light whatsoever?
Maybe some of you will answer yes to one or both suggestions, but I’ll hazard a guess that for the most part, happiness & sorrow have come and gone much like the up-and-down motion of the ocean waves. We probably forget that shadows are as necessary as light is to the formation of our souls as those who follow Christ.
Might I encourage you to remember that the great Weaver is making something beautiful with all the colors and shades of the rainbow?
My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.”
-Corrie ten Boom
Truly though…why do we think any previous year was so hard and that next year will be so much better? I get it, we look forward to fresh starts and would rather not dwell on mistakes or hardships, but might we be more careful with how we think of these things? We aren’t given a guarantee of a better year, only plenty of grace to follow in the steps of the Master…Jesus, who suffered the full wrath of God on our behalf. These events and happenings that shake us to the core are what He uses to make us humble, ironclad saints who trust Him fully for the praise of His glorious grace!
A Better Year
Perhaps we should stop in the middle of that expectant thought of a ‘better year' and instead ponder all those hard days and give thanks again to the Lord for showing us His power in working out all the situations, bringing healing after pain, and sustaining with His strength through all the waiting.
Instead of wishing the year to be over, let’s look back and delight in His abundance of love and grace and in His glory through our weakness. Let’s anticipate seeing more of Him in the upcoming days, weeks, and months. Let’s expect to see more hardships, more joy, more pain, more provision. This isn’t permission to get as miserable as possible, but simply to take each moment as it is given, trusting that we will, as Richard of Chichester said:
"Day by day, dear Lord,
three things I pray:
to see Thee more clearly,
to love Thee more dearly,
to follow Thee more nearly."
May that be our prayer for 2017 and every year to follow. May we be eager servants, ready to serve in any capacity regardless of size or importance, excited to see the hand of the Lord in every part of our lives.
...all the time, God is good.
P.S. Here's a glimpse of my last wedding of the year!