Tuesday, December 31, 2013

For 2013, Forget the Columns

On this last day of 2013, I have already seen (on the news) retrospectives that either celebrate or recount with sadness events of 2013.  There are those retrospectives that capture the "funny" or the "historic" or the "oddest" moments.  There are the montages of the famous or significant (or both) people who passed away during the year.   There are the sports highlights and lowlights, and the look at the year's statistics (prices, employment, economics, and so on).

Kathy just raised the question of whether we should think of 2013 as a good year or not.  For us, personally, it has been a year with many more highs than lows and joyful times of travel and reunion. But, as she pointed out, we have had front row seats as many more of our friends/family/church family have been through extremely difficult times over the last 12 months.

So, do we put 2013 in the "good" or "bad" column?  The answer is, "forget the columns."

In 2013 we rejoiced with those who rejoice.  We wept with those who wept.  Every good we experienced was a taste of the future hope of all believers to live in a good world with the Good King, free from the effects of evil.  But those tastes are temporary, passing, and mixed today.  Every evil we experienced was a reminder of the Fall and its effects, our world's and our own brokenness and the pull toward sin that still lurks in us.  It deepens the longing that grows in us for the return of Jesus.

In all ways and in everything, God's sovereign power was at work, even if at times his presence could not be discerned by those seeking to find him, and even if his purposes were not always clear.  He continues to move history toward its appointed end, and we know what that is, even though we can't quite (!) figure the timing of it all.  Judgment is coming, and so is deliverance.  Every year has and will contain reminders of both.

So, I thank God for 2013--for the undeserved good I have experienced, the mercy I have received, the bad things that temper any overzealous optimism about our world, the disappointments and sadnesses that make me long for the "something better" that is coming, and the many ways that being a part of God's family and my family mean that none of us need to go through any of this alone.

I am excited to move toward 2014; but more than that, I'm so blessed to know that, sinner that I am, I am forgiven, freed, and on my way to a much bigger future than just another year.  It was captured in the song we sang last Sunday:

When I wake up in the Land of Glory
And with the saints I will tell my story
There will be one Name that I proclaim
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, just that Name.

[If you want to listen to whole song, you can go here.]