I don’t know about you, but I have several friends who are desperate to say goodbye to 2012.  It wasn’t a good year for them.

I know the feeling of dying for a new chapter of life.  I, too, have been thrilled to say goodbye to a year, as if January 1 brings a blank slate, a new beginning, and closes a door on a difficult past.  In some ways it’s true.   I’m not trying to squash any hope you have of a new year.  It’s great to have hope.  But it’s also foolish to think that we won’t continue to have hard, challenging, and ridiculously difficult times.

My dad wrote this for a friend today and I asked his permission to pass it along to you, my friends, who may find yourself in a sad, hard, or lonely time–desperate for 2013 to be different.

From our human vantage, it seems that when trials come, we are tested to choose to draw near to Him or walk away into sin.  To hunker down, wait, linger with Him, to not whine & complain is hard. Yes, there seems to be a corollary in the furnace and our closeness to Him.  I’ve come to the conclusion that maturity and growth through these is accepting the fact that many of our “why?” questions will never be answered.   I do wonder if we are so obdurate that apart from such trials, we’d never grow.  It seems pain is the only universal teacher. So, we press on.  Like Peter, “where else can we go?”

I will not be trite and suggest that “all things turn out for good” but I do believe these things humble us, reminds us of our lot, force us to choose faithfulness when our experience tells us otherwise.  We deserve nothing, yet when we are in pain, we doubt and second-guess. He wants our faithfulness, not our success.

“Success”– however good, well, and even biblically we define it– is meaningless apart from faithfulness.  I know you have been, are, and will be faithful.  We all stumble in many ways, but as long as we keep on drawing nearer, we can rest no matter if we are in the desert, storm or wilderness of life, because He is with us.

I have confidence in our Savior that He is going to use you in ways you do not yet see.  And in time, the waves of pain, anger, grief, regret, “what-ifs” begin to quell and calm a bit.  They still — I think will always — swell up from time to time, but when you’ve survived the storm, the swells are gentle reminders that while the pain persists, He is still there. 

[Michael J. Easley]

My prayer for all of us is that amidst the trials, we will be faithful to our King. He is so faithful to you and me.  Press on dear friends.  I am hopefully expectant of the things to come.  Hello 2013.  He is still there.

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