In this season of new beginnings as we enter into a new year, there is much to ponder. How will life go in 2017? Will it be better than 2016? How will we fair in the ups and downs, the bumps and smooth paths of life in this New Year? Will it be tough? Will our dreams and expectations be met? Will we accomplish our goals? Will we grow? A new year invites us into these internal conversations where God can give us insight.
I was contemplating such New Year’s thoughts as my wife and I were running a quick errand to our local Costco. As we were walking up we noticed a dad with two kids, one on each side of the cart, with smiles and eyes full of excitement. They were coming out the store, cart laden with groceries and other items. The kids were happily expressing, “Here it comes! Here it comes! Get ready…,” and they both started saying loudly, “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.” Then it happened! They hit those obnoxious bumps that I’m sure are for safety reasons, but as the cart rolls over them, it rattles to the point where items in the cart are tossed about, and in a few cases that I have experienced, actually has shaken objects right off the under part of the cart!. Well these kids, thinking nothing about the efforts to push through this pad of distress, nor its jostling effect on the groceries, chose to go with the flow and make the moment an adventure. The kept up their ‘AHHH’s’ increasing the volume and now making the fun sound like a kid making machine gun sounds, “AH-AH-AH-AH-AH…..” With squeals of joy and laughter they shouted, “Again!,” as they approached another mat of bumps. It was fun to watch and as I caught the dad’s eye, I winked and smiled big and he gestured back with a sheepish grin while he shrugged his shoulders and pressed on. I thought to myself, “I want to have this fun attitude when I face the bumps in my life.”
The reality is, as we approach another year, there will be times of easy, well-paved, straight paths; a great promotion, a new house, a wedding, a new baby, an improved relationship. Yet in 2017 there will also be some paths that are twisty, dark, and bumpy; a job loss, a relationship that goes sour, cancer, a loss of a loved one. There is no guarantee that life will be all warm hugs and sunshine. Jesus was very clear as quoted in John 16:33 “…In the world you will have tribulation…,” regardless of how we live our lives, tough times happen.
The key for us is how we choose to ride through those bumpy times. Where we place our trust is vital. Those kids placed their trust in their dad, who actually made the fun possible. Placing our trust in our Heavenly Father provides the same opportunity.
Proverbs 3:5-8 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
To trust God is to believe in who He is and what He has done. That takes some reading of the Bible and church also is a great place to learn of God. See, when we put our trust in circumstances, others, or even ourselves, the bumps of life are down-right terrifying. Yet God can take any situation, even the real painful ones, and turn them into something meaningful, not always fun, but used to for His glory and our good.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Again, good does not always mean fun or easy, but good in our growth and for God’s purposes.
James 1:2-4 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
The bumps, the trials, and tough times of life help us grow. If we have set our life to trust in Him, He will help us find the joy even as we hit those bumpy patches in life. He will also provide comfort, guidance, and wisdom to get through these rough roads. The question is… will we turn to Him?
I have no idea what this New Year will hold. I’m sure there will be many smooth roads, but also some patches of bumps. When they hit I will be looking for God’s help as I hang on and make it as fun as possible.
Like I mentioned, church is a great place to learn of who God is and how to experience Him. New Years’ time is a great time to check out and start attending a church. If you are not already connected to a church, please feel invited to ours. Our website has information about our various campuses. We would love to walk together with you on life’s path. Here is our website, www.cypresschurch.net .
Having fun with the bumps of life alongside you,