I wanted to share a few thoughts as we shut the books on 2015. I have heard many of us (both in the family and our friends) say that 2015 was a rough year and they are glad to get through it. I have to admit, I have had similar feelings. 2015 will go down in the annals of odd. Words like excitement, disappointment, faith, doubt, loving embrace, emptiness…I could go on but all these words describe 2015. We've noticed several people posting to their facebook pages in recent days how that 2015 was a difficult year. It was not all bad. Rather, the good somehow seemed to be constantly followed by the bad.
It was a real paradox and particularly so for those of us who live by faith. After getting excited about adding 2 little ones to our clan this year it all came to a grinding halt in February and it didn't happen. Some would say it was for the best but our emotions didn't necessarily agree. Excitement followed by disappointment. We continue to wonder about that one.
We made 2 wonderful additions to our family this year via marriage. Karen & I labored to prepare for the March wedding only to have a complete gully washer of a day. I was bent out of shape and disappointed. Everyone else just seemed to just go with it and that helped me temper my emotions. And of course, 2015 made us all say goodbye to someone special and whom we miss terribly. I was 100% convinced, as many of you were, that we wouldn't see that day. It still makes no sense and can't be explained to satisfaction. Excitement followed by extreme disappointment.
In 2015 questions have been followed not with answers but invitation. "Will you trust?" are the words that continuously pound in the deep places within. Trust, did you say? It's too risky and the safer way is to look after your own well-being. But trust is not an attribute, its a choice. And this isn't some mega church preacher begging for money. Its not give and you'll get. Its a personal invitation, issued by a personal God followed by a personal choice. Its a question whispered quietly in your heart but somehow cuts through all the noise of life and those hyper drive emotions that scream when life is unexplained.
And looking outside of our own little worlds it doesn’t get any better. "Where are you Lord?" is the tempting prayer of the day. "Why are your children, literally children, being beheaded, stabbed and raped?" I read this morning in Revelation 6 the same question. After the Lamb breaks open the fifth seal and there are those underneath the altar who have been martyred for their faith their question was the same...“How long [i.e., where are you?, i.e., why?]?” It is our question too. “How long, Oh, Lord?” How long will it be until life settles down? How long will it be before people can just get along? How long before You fix all this stuff and life stabilizes? How long will it be before my wounded heart heals and life feels right again?"
I hate to say it, but the answer is one I don't like: "they were told to wait a little longer..." So that was 2015! Wait a little while longer and it will make sense, feel better, and the blessing will flow again. In the meantime, the times demand a faith, that just like the scripture says, goes well beyond our sight and even our ability to understand. It is a faith that tries to take it all in but when the dust clears invites us to believe without understanding the full picture. You can call it good or you can call it bad…and you’d be right! But in the end, the question doesn’t change. "Will we trust?"
I thank God everyday for each and everyone of you. I pray for each of you often that you'd be blessed beyond your wildest dreams. Say what you will, but 2015 brought us all closer to each other and that goes a long way to calming the inward parts that are uncertain. My prayer is that we will continue to draw from one another's strengths and press on to those things that God has placed in our hearts to do. Our strength is in our unity and our ability to encourage one another. And lest I be accused of preaching now, I will stop there and say goodbye to 2015 and we look forward to great things in 2016!