My crystal ball is usually pretty fuzzy, but I will make this prediction at the beginning of this year: there will be bad things that will happen in all of our lives, and there will be good things that will happen in all of our lives. Yet, in my opinion, it is not these events that will make the next year a happy one or a sad one--it will be our responses to said events that will make the year happy or sad.
As I look back on 2012 (and I'll probably do more of a reflection on said year on January 4th, my birthday), I can say it was a good year--and I am happy with how it went.
Now, in some ways, I could say good riddance to last year and pray that the next year will be different. After all, there were some things that happened to me personally last year which weren't exactly thrilling to go through:
- Going through burnout sucked.
- Continuing through the recuperation process and healing has taken some time and hasn't been instantaneous.
- Losing several members who transferred out of the congregation I serve hit me hard.
- I've done more funerals this past year than I care to consider including those unexpected ones with people who died too young.
- Dealing with the anxiety of a national election and the continued polarization of society (which impacts the church) wasn't exactly the most thrilling thing in the world.
Yet, in all these circumstances, I have come to realize that God was at work in each of them. God was doing stuff behind the scenes, so to speak, to bring about some positive changes in my life and in the lives of others. Realizing God's hand in things made such occurrences easier to swallow, and focusing on His actions brought about a sense of joy and peace even in the midst of turmoil.
Oftentimes, we measure the worth of a year and whether or not it was happy or sad by stacking events up. If the good ones outweigh the bad, it was a happy year. If the bad ones outweigh the good, it was a sad year; but for people of faith, if we take the time to see what God was doing, every year is a year of grace. Every year is a year of peace. Every year brings unexpected joy. For we realize our happiness, our joy, and our peace does not rely on the events we go through, but it relies on God and His action in our lives.
May your eyes be opened this year to see His work, and may it indeed be a Happy New Year!