It’s a new year. Did you notice? People celebrated, balls dropped. Celebrities waxed poetic and pop stars sang on TV. Mariah Caray apparently had some technical issues with her performance, a fitting end to a year replete with issues, technical and otherwise.
I am not sorry to say goodbye to 2016. It was not a year I will cherish in my memory. The world got uglier. Politics got uglier. Even the discourse in the church got uglier. Though six has always been my favorite number (due entirely to the fact I was born on the sixteen day of the sixth month in 1966), I was relieved to see the calendar turn to “seven.”
It’s not just the macro that got me down this year – it was also the micro. Struggles within and around my family were tough to bear for my me and my wife. We became grandparents, which is in itself a blessing, but becoming grandparents combined with turning 50 and undergoing the first of an unknown quantity of colonoscopies stretching out into the great beyond presses upon one’s mind that one is no longer, as they say, a “spring chicken.” No one approaches spring chickens in the church foyer with the greeting, “hello, Grandpa,” as many of my friends have enjoyed doing.
Then there’s uncertainty about work. Things were so much easier when you could put some vegetables on a DVD and a big chunk of the Christian world would line up and say, “I’ll take one!” As DVD slowly but surely slides into that distant land populated by dodo birds, buggy whips and VHS cassettes, exchanging stories for sustaining income has become significantly more challenging.
If it isn’t bombs in Allepo and Turkey and hi-jacked trucks in France and Germany, if it isn’t Prince and David Bowie and Carrie Fisher and her mom, if it isn’t a presidential election that made none of us feel particularly good about anything, it’s also financial insecurity, colonoscopies and “hello Grandpa.”
So I gladly wave farewell to the year that was 2016. And I’m holding to two thoughts for 2017. Just two little, tiny thoughts.
God is present. And God is good.
Can I prove that this is true? No I cannot. But I believe this is true. I believe God is present. And I believe God is good. And my story is in his hands. My wife’s story is in his hands. My children’s stories are in his hands. My grandchildren’s stories are in his ends. Allepo is in his hands. My finances are in his hands. Heck, even my colon is in his hands. (I’m not sure if colons have stories per se – nor, assuming they did, that I’d be much interested in hearing them, but you get the idea.)
This is what I’m saying every morning as I sit down with my two eggs and my Bible. God is present, and God is good.
And each morning, as I say this, a scary world seems much less scary. And out the door I go, ready to tell stories of his love to whomever will listen.
Welcome 2017. You, too, are in the hands of someone far greater than me.