Like many of you, I often find myself in reflective mode during this week which we find packaged between Christmas and New Year’s. This year is no different.
Though I know I am blessed beyond measure, I would be lying if I said that 2016 was a great year for me.
And, based on the laments on social media and the increasing soulnessness which makes up the news every day, it seems it has been a pretty rotten year for most everyone—a year woven together by tragedy and heartache.
The amped-up level of evilness that once seemed to wreak havoc on those in faraway places now pulses feverishly through the veins of our own nation. Terrorists play in our own backyards and heartbreak is an almost daily response to news of yet another of our beloved men and women in blue killed in the line of duty; another senseless shooting; another terrorist attack, another natural disaster or the untimely and unexpected death of another beloved friend, family member, celebrity or public hero. Few, if any, no longer have faith in our government, especially after an election that even the most creative satirist could never match.
On a personal level, it has been a year of change in almost every aspect. Though my physical locale remains the same, life as I knew it seemed to up and relocate itself, leaving me with no choice but to adjust to new surroundings in both my personal as well as my professional life. I’m still adjusting and, truth be told, I think I may be struggling with some depression. All I can say is thank God for the hope that He gives us. Whether or not I feel His Presence at a given moment, I know that I know that He is always and in all ways with me and that these melancholy feelings are just that—feelings, ever-changing, hollow fruits of the flesh that I can never trust.
His Truth and Spirit, however, can always be trusted. The never-changing, soul-sustaining and boundless fruits of His Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—constantly summon me even in the midst of the storms. All we have to do is ask, seek and knock in faith and our Father in Heaven will provide.
In Matthew, Chapter 7, Verse 8, Jesus promises: “Everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
My prayer—as we prepare to shut the door of 2016 and knock on that of a brand new year—is that each of us will remember to ask, seek and receive all that He has promised us and that we choose to grow life -sustaining Fruits of The Spirit instead of hollow fruits of the flesh.
Father, help us to remain focused on You; to learn to respond to this fallen world, not with fear, but with our eyes on the big picture for which You are the creator; that we remember that this is Your Story and Your will and purposes will always, always prevail. Holy Spirit, come, fill me so that I may do the part that was set aside just for me before the foundation of the earth was ever laid. Help me to make 2017 a year of progress and purpose—a truly Happy New Year for You and for me.
I love you, dear Father. Let’s do this!
Amen and Ehmen.