Happy New Year!
새해 복 마니 받으세요!!!
መልካም አዲስ አመት
Yes, it is that time, again. Out with the old, in with the new. A time to make resolutions declaring to everyone how we intend on becoming better people during the next 365 days.
Ok, seriously, it is a great time to remember and celebrate the good from 2014. A time to recall blessings that have encouraged our family. But in our remembering, lets not forget the bad. You know, those experiences our Father brought us through even if we were kicking and screaming as we went.
Remembering the good may make us feel happy about 2014, but remembering the struggles will help us see what we’ve overcome. It builds our faith in God. It strengthens our family.
In Samuel’s day (back in the Old Testament), the Israelites suffered defeat at the hands of the Philistines. The public defeat came because of sins within their community. They lost the Ark of the Covenant as a result. After repenting and deciding to follow God’s leadership, they battled again and had great victory. Samuel placed a stone, called an Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” Every time the people saw that stone they would remember, not just the victory, but the lesson of obedience, too.
Joshua had men from each tribe carry stones from the Jordan river and stack them on the opposite bank. God wanted them to remember all that He had done for them. They had just spent 40 years in the wilderness because they chose fear over faith. They had doubted God and walked in disobedience. But in those years, there was also the knowledge of God’s great provision, His protection, His covenant, His faithfulness. Those stones represented all that God had done and the hope of all He would do.
As I look back on this past year, I see moments of selfishness, anger, pride. Moments I wish would disappear…forever. There were words spoken too quickly and too harshly. But I also see forgiveness and growth. I heard rumors about our family that sent my spirit into a rage. I experienced broken friendships and pain I hope to never feel again. Yet, I felt healing in my heart that I didn’t even know was possible. Peace beyond reason flooded me in the most difficult of storms.
I wouldn’t have chosen to experience 2014 as a year riddled with pain, but that it what happened. And as I reflect on it, I’m thankful. I see God’s hand, strong and able, upholding me. My hope for this coming year isn’t in vain. It is with the knowledge that God is always faithful and the experience that He is able to do a mighty work in spite of me.
Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I’m come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue from danger,
interposed his precious blood.
Happy New Year to each of you and may you find comfort as you raise your Ebenezer and remember the mighty deeds God has done in your life in 2014 and acknowledge all He will do in 2015.