A litany of reviews of 2016 on social media on the last day of the year. A great year for some, but interestingly, and I quote, “the hardest year” for many. It was certainly the hardest year I’ve known, and that’s saying something – to eclipse 2014 when we lost Nathanael.
In so many ways 2016 has left me speechless, but equally, with a renewed resolve. I don’t pretend for one moment that 2017 will be any ‘easier’, but one thing for sure, I’m readier I think for whatever the new year will throw at me than what I was 365 days ago.
Like the Maya Angelou quote, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” a year like 2016 has left me a little numb. I won’t forget how this year has made me feel. I’ll never forget how some people made me feel this year. Forgive, yes, I’m Christian, so I do know what I’m bound to do. But forget? Not sure that’s possible or even God’s will. And, besides, I’m thankful that some people made me feel this year; that those feelings brought me to a place where I had to, many times, reach out to God.
If there are facets of this year that are unforgettably real, times you’ve been left so speechless they’ve left a mark on the psyche, a steeling is required – if resilience for hardship is to be embraced.
James (the New Testament letter) certainly knew it when he said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds… ” that we would find these times are anything but joyful. But he also knew that if we thought about what God was building into us as we faced our despairs, we could consider it pure joy, given that this short life will be over after only a few dozen more New Years.
If the year left you speechless, thank God that you shut up long enough to hear Him speak.
That’s the only thing I’m thankful for: that, though 2016 was the hardest year, I’m thankful for the lessons I’ve learned.
If the year left you speechless, thank God you step into 2017 readier than ever to live.
Steve Wickham holds Degrees in Science, Divinity, and Counselling.
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