“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”—John 16:33, NKJV
Ever thought, New year, same stuff!
We like to think of January 1 as a fresh start, but some issues tend to follow us into the new year. It can be frustrating and cause us to wonder if situations will ever improve. I can think of people who, for years, have experienced a bad marriage, wayward children, financial difficulties, grief, illness, depression, and much more. These issues seem more than temporary setbacks. They have gone on so long that they appear to be more of a lifestyle. For those in such situations, it can be easy to lose hope of things ever getting better. Even when there is hope, sometimes things don’t improve (e.g., sick people die), and then one may wonder where was God or why He allowed such things to happen to those who trusted Him.
Scripture tells us that it rains on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45, NKJV). The NIV uses the terms righteous and unrighteous. The point is that no matter who we are or how much we love God, trouble comes our way. Gee, thanks, God. While that Scripture in and of itself may not be encouraging, many others provide comfort. For example, while confirming to the disciples that there will indeed be trouble in this world, Jesus says, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
While writing, I’m currently in a storm myself, one that pierces my heart like none other. Yet, I have peace. No sleepless nights. Minimal tears. Lots of prayers. For me, it is incredibly comforting to know that all is in the Master’s hands. I also know that I could lose my peace the moment that I take my focus off of God and His word and put it on my situation. So, I try to keep looking up instead of looking around. Here’s what I know:
- This thing will end. How it ends is totally up to God. (Of course, I’m fighting the temptation to give God my unsolicited advice of what He should do and how He should do it. Lol.)
- I am growing through the process. I am not the same as I was when it first began, and I won’t be the same as I am now when it ends. This is a character-building experience that has the potential to change me for the better if I surrender to the process.
- No matter what it looks like, God is in control. I could drop the mic right here because the best part of it all is knowing that God’s got this.
As you journey through whatever current storm life has brought your way, try not to be overwhelmed by your circumstances. Yes, it may be a new year with the same stuff, but we also have the same God with the same power with the same authority to get us through this as He has gotten us through many things previously. Rest in the fact that you do not have to journey alone. Not only has God gone before you, but He’s also currently with you. Each day that passes brings you one day closer to the end of your storm as everything has a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1).