One week into 2013, and I’m just now wrapping up the year that was 2012. But with the kind of the year it was, there had to be extra time put in to it. Several words sum up the year that was…twenty. twelve.
So many people have lost their lives this past year. The majority to tragic situations. Massive Gun shootings, Hurricanes and Tornadoes, big name celebrities, and that causes the country to come together. everyday neighborhood civil violence. But tragic of all , is that these occurrences have either united the country ad world, or split us apart. The problem is, there has to be a tragic or extremely adverse situation that causes this country to come together. And it shouldn’t always be that way .
As a country, as individuals, it seems that we face adversity everyday and this year was no difference. Not even officially midnight where I am and the country is staring adversity down the barrel as congress was not able to resolve the issues with the fiscal cliff. Financially, middle class families, single parents, college students, anyone who isn’t rich basically will have to face paying a hefty tax increase. Now those people will have to pay more taxes as well, but its not like it will affect them, right? But as we always do as a country, and individually, we will find some kind of way to overcome this adversity. But not with there being some heartbreak first…
Tough experiences, experiences that have you questioning why did this happen to me, why did I have to go through this? Experiences that pain you to say wont ever happen to you again, saying it while enduring the hurt. Laid off of a job, dropped out of school, got a divorce, even experiencing someone who’s close to you, experiencing their pain. A child should never have to experience their mother struggling for anything . Not to mention the loss something that took the air right out of your balloon. And you wonder why it’s necessary to go through what you go through. Come to think about it, why should anyone have to hurt? why should anyone experience pain? the answer: it’s life. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel . There will be mistakes made along the way however.
Self inflicted, unintentional, regretful. Even repetitive. But once you learn from them, you learn how and what to do in order not to repeat those mistakes. But if those mistakes are repeated, they become unhealthy habits. habits that begin to affect the progress you’ve already made . Habits that start to affect the life around you. Friendships, families, relationships become affected, even damaged. Focus on your career and on your education becomes impaired. Things start to run together, all because of a mistake in the beginning that wasn’t corrected.
Then comes forgiveness. Mistakes are made, even repeated. But once those mistakes are accounted for, the unhealthy habits confronted, forgiveness comes in and reconciles, heals, and even sometimes replaces. Even though the famous cliche goes ‘forgive, and don’t forget’ The honest forgiveness is the when you forgive AND you forget. Never regret the things you’ve done wrong, and I can be accounted for when I say I did a lot of wrong in 2012 . But I learned from it, and most importantly I was forgiven for it . The bible says ‘love’ keeps no record of wrong, and that it covers a multitude of sins. That love doesn’t have to necessarily mean the love of a marriage, or a parent to child, sometimes it can mean the love you have for yourself. Most importantly the love the bible is referring to is the love that represents God. After all, God is love. He is the one that will forgive you and will forget the wrong that you have done. No matter what you did in 2012, God has already forgiven you .
My favorite word in the bible resonates from one of my favorite books in the bible. James. James 1:2-4 (NIV) says ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything’. If you can read this, that means you have persevered through 2012. There were so many trials, your faith was tested constantly. Yet, God has blessed you and me to be here still. He has a purpose for us. All the while we discover His purpose and true calling on our lives, what impact we are to have in 2013, and where He wants us to go, we must remind ourselves that He helped us to persevere through 2012.
‘….the testing of your faith develops perseverance.’ The two go hand in hand. You can’t persevere without faith. You can’t develop strong faith without persevering through hard times. Every day, you and I will be tested. every single moment we are being tested. Tested on our job, in our homes, at school, in our relationships. In the spiritual world, fighting our flesh every day. I don’t know about you but I have lost at least once, if not twice, to each and every one of those battles. But I’m still here. By the grace of God. I’ve been tested and tried, but I have not been destroyed. Thanks be unto God. By faith is slowly but surely growing. But with my faith growing, I need for my appetite for God to grow. He’s seen me through some difficult times and self-inflicted issues in the last year, but in order to carry on through 2013, I’m going to need a stronger faith. A deeper faith.
Lord, I come right now, asking you to strengthen my faith. Give me opportunities to grow my faith, and also to share my faith to . When those opportunities arise, please Lord ignite my spirit to be willing to share and to step out in faith . God I thank you for all that you’ve done in 2012. All the pain, the hurt, the adversity, the mistakes I made, the hurt I did to others, Lord I praise You for all of it, because You forgave me, and for that I say thank You. Lord, make me better. Help me to be more loving and caring to others. Help me to rebuild the friendship(s) that were broken down because of me . Lord forgive those who may have hurt me, but Lord forgive me for anyone I may have hurt. Lord, touch those families that lost their loved ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary school tragedy, the ones that lost loved ones in the Denver, Colorado movie theater shooting. Lord touch all the hurting souls that were affected by any tragedy, any lost of a loved one, any heartbreak, Lord touch them all. I thank You for giving us Your grace to press on and persevere through 2012. Now Lord, cover us in 2013. Grow our faith. help us Lord. Cover our pastors, our churches. Cover our president, our government, cover this country, cover this whole entire world. Because you created it . WE praise the Creator of all things. I ask this and all other things in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.