Sitting on the Fly-Away bus alone and scrolling through the posts of engagements, weddings, new babies, and shiny people ringing in the New Year, the temptation to throw a New Year’s pity party beckons to me with the scant promise of mildly satisfying misery. Even my friend’s post about his family’s episode with the flu taunts me to surrender to discontentment.
2018 was one of the hardest years I can remember since…maybe, ever. Disappointment, wounded friends, separated geography, dismantled community, job transitions. . . It was hard. What a broken world we live in! Wars, orphans, poverty, hunger, anger, nepotism, heresy, earthquakes, tsunamis, trafficking, selfishness. You get the picture, right? Physical exhaustion, compassion fatigue, soul weariness conspired to pull me back to my pillow more than once over the last 12 months.
“My soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, “My endurance has perished;
so has my hope from the Lord.”
Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
Then he writes:
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[b]
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
So I sit and scroll through those mercies instead. Eager students. A new job that “landed” on my doorstep. The opportunity to see my past co-workers delight in the Lord’s provision. Tiny flowers. Soft T-Shirts. Learning a new game. Faithful missionaries. Finding the perfect carpet. Kettlebells and medicine balls. Friendships that span 30 years. New friendships. Camping, paddle-boarding, sitting around a fire with friends new and old. Opportunities to teach the Word of God. Puppies. Verses that haunt me. Conversations that inspire. Molten glass. Ava. Concerts and laughter. Sushi burritos and poke. Blueberries. Writing and thinking about writing. Mountains and trees. Pizza. The grace of weeping. An increased longing for heaven with Jesus and a decreased desire for the stuff of earth. A song that I can’t get out of my head: “Lift up your heads, Oh, ye gates, and be lifted up, ye everlasting doors for the King of Glory shall come in!”
We DO live in a broken world. Heroes will disappoint. Friends will walk away. Old age will creep in. You might sin against me, and I for sure will sin against you. 2019 is likely to be as hard as 2018 was, but God is still on His throne and He still superintends for my good and His glory.
So, yes. Happy New Year! Thank you, Jesus, for New Year’s grace AND for guacamole! Amen.