As I write this, there is exactly one hour remaining in 2013. I guess it’s human nature to look back and reflect on the year that has passed. To be honest, I’m glad to see this year draw to a close. It’s been a hard year. In February we were jolted by the unexpected death of Sunny’s brother, Roger. In July, we lost Sunny’s father, Alan, after a lengthy battle with ALS. To say we’ve been grieving this year would be an understatement. Loss is always difficult, but there’s nothing quite like the death of a family member. I suppose we’ve been even more aware of these losses these past few weeks as we’ve gone through our first holiday without them. We can look back to our Christmas pictures from last year and there’s Roger and Alan together.
This year, only a void.
But this has also been a year of unexpected blessing. Sunny and her entire family have shown such strength in the midst of these trying circumstances. They have honored these beloved men by faithfully holding to the promises of God, promises of resurrection and restoration. Anytime you learn those lessons, you have to count that as a blessing.
I’ve also been blessed to see my children grow in their faith this year. The questions they ask are sometimes difficult, even for me to answer. But they’re also asking the kinds of questions that let me know their faith is becoming their own. I’ve already resolved myself to the fact that my children will think about and practice their faith much differently than I do; and watching that come to fruition right before my eyes is something special. Lots of people are fearful about the future; I’m not one of those people. I’m excited about what God is doing to express His Kingdom through this next generation of disciples.
The lessons we’ve learned in 2013 will not be soon forgotten. As we shift into 2014, I’m praying for the year of the Lord’s favor. I’m praying that we’ll come to know Jesus more fully and more tangibly in the next 12 months. And I’m praying that our grief becomes a springboard toward greater faith, hope, and love.
Happy New Year