What a Year

Published on Dec 28th, 2016 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
What a Year

What A Year I have had more than a few people share with me how difficult 2016 was for them and their family. The reasons for this varied but many are glad to see the year fading into the night. It is an interesting thing about human nature that the turn of a calender page gives us hope. I mean, I get it, I am the same way. There is hope when we break our lives up into smaller segments. Especially when we have had some rough times. That ball dropping and the clock ticking past midnight marks a new year and hopefully new adventures and good things. Can you imagine if our calender was somehow set up differently and this false reset in our lives was every 3,650 days? I would imagine that we would cling to our birthdays as a new beginning. Unless the 3,650 days were counted as our years and our birthdays only rolled around every 3,650 days. I would now be 5.6 years old. Getting a little off track but now you see how difficult it is for me to study because my mind roves from one silly thing to the next! What I wanted to write is an encouragement to my friends who had such a difficult year in 2016.

Even though they had a difficult year, they were still standing and they were still walking in obedience to Christ. Much of what has happened this year was still too fresh for them to see their growth yet but this they knew, they were still standing for Christ. For some, they were a little battered, clothes were a little ragged, eyes glazed just a bit, and their walk was a little slower but they were standing with the Lord. As I spoke with them they often shared how they weren’t sure if they could have stood much longer. Many spoke of wanting to give up but for some reason they just couldn’t. Just when they thought they had enough, something would happen in their hearts and they would find joy and peace in the midst of the storms. For some, the storms are still raging. The Lord is still calling them to persevere. The turning of the page, for them, is hope that this is the beginning of the end of the storm. Maybe this will be the year that their spouse repents. Maybe this will be the year when God gives them the work that they need. Maybe the storm of a rebellious teenager will subside this year. Maybe this year the health issues will be resolved. This may be the year when this battle of depression will be won for good.

Whatever the storm, there is hope that it may pass. The verse I would like to share with them is this encouraging verse in Colossians, “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” (Col 1:29) You are not facing these difficulties alone. God is not asking you to struggle and toil through these most difficult times in your own strength. He gives the energy and the power. I love the way Paul writes those words. God works his energy and power within Paul. God works within Paul to allow Paul to minister effectively. He allows Paul to stand during the most difficult times. He works within Paul to give him energy and power to fight off his fleshly desires to quit or walk away. We are so quick to ask God to use his power to stop the storm, and that is ok to do, but Paul recognizes that God often wants to work within us so that we can continue to fight, minister, or to stand in the midst of the storm.

I love those super hero movies. The Avengers, Superman, Batman, Spider Man, Dr. Strange, Hulk...it doesn’t matter, I enjoy them all. I apologize if I mixed up Marvel guys with D.C. comic guys, or however that goes but I hope all of you who are getting your nerd on will forgive me for my ignorance of who is who. One of the things that makes these good movies for us is that when the storm comes it just does not go away on its own. Our super hero stands up to the storm, struggles for a while, but then comes our victorious. We love that scenario. Be kind of a lame movie if the storm would come and then just go away. Yet, in real life, that is what we would wish for. Short storm...just go away. But we know that storms often stick around for a while and so we desire to be the super hero who not only stands in the storm but beats the storm and saves all those around them.

We are not saviors. There is only one savior. We may be able to stand up to some storms but eventually there are storms that are way too big for us. We need to learn, in the smaller storms, to stand in his energy and his power. We need to fight the urge to be our own super hero and fall submissively on to the feet of the only Savior. We need to humble ourselves and pray. We need to seek his guidance through his word. We need to stand in the strength of the Holy Spirit of God.

My friends are still standing and when you talk to them they realize that they are not super heroes. They give all the glory to the only Savior who carried them through the hardest times. Whatever comes in 2017 I pray that I may stand with them in the energy and power of the true Savior.

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