Social media is a curious place to be at the start of a new year. There are resolutions, of course, but also inspiring quotes, organizational tips, and comparisons (before and after photos). In the past couple of years I've noticed gloomier posts, though. Profanity-laden phrases about the old year have increased as people lament the hardships the previous year brought with the hope that the new year will be absent of difficulty.
2017 has included some of the most difficult things my family--me personally--has ever faced. Others have dealt with estranged family members or parents receiving cancer diagnoses, but these were foreign to us before 2017. Personally, it was a deeply difficult year.
Would I want to blame it on the year, though? Cuss out 2017 and welcome in 2018, my new friend who certainly wouldn't treat me like its predecessor did? Well, actually, no.
Nobody promises us a life free of problems, or even a life that is fair. God doesn't. The world doesn't even promise this--or at least deliver it, if it does promise it. As 2017 passed along, bringing all sorts of trials upon trials, I responded in a variety of ways, some which were sinful and some which were uncharacteristically calm and trusting. I had to process, meditate, question, work through doubts...but one thing I did that was different than ever before was that I did not reserve ANY of me from God.
As I drew near to God in the midst of my sadness and pain, all my protective walls were knocked down. And, God was faithful. He was faithful to be near...to comfort...to encourage...to understand...to change me...and (this I'm still working on believing) to be good to me.
This post is a personal one. Maybe you can't relate and maybe you're even uncomfortable with it. Before 2017 I thought that certain difficult trials were for those other people, and maybe you have thought similarly? But...not true. So, when YOU fall into various trials, how will you respond? Will you be able to count it all joy knowing that your faith is being tested and all sorts of glorious things will be produced so that you will lack nothing? Or will you, instead, cuss out the difficulties hoping that something better is around the next corner?
God is with us--Immanuel. There's nothing better around the corner (here on earth; of course eternity with Jesus is far better!). He is the best and He is with us right now in the midst of our difficulties. And, if your life is free and easy, remember this when you fall into trials one day too.
Let's face 2018 with a deeper faith and trust that God is at work in us and with us in the process.