Earlier I was having a walk up by the lake near where we live. As I passed a certain tree (there are many so I won’t try and explain which one!), I thought about how a few months ago I was sat under its shade, reading a book. I also would have been swimming in the lake (not so inviting right now!!)
My walk added to my reflecting on 2017.
For any year, different things act as ‘markers’ for me – Christmas, Easter and family birthdays being important celebrations of course! Other things include the latest Star Wars movie always coming out in the Netherlands on or close to our son’s birthday.
Something else that acts as a memory marker for me is taking plenty of photos. Each of the four above are from a different quarter this year – all from up in the lake area. Such photos help me to look back and think of all I am grateful for – so that I don’t forget!
Other photos from 2017 also act as memory jolts, such as this one below:
It is the above ground part of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin that Helen and I visited during the summer. It was a deeply moving visit. It is a real example of a ‘marker’ that we wish to remember – as such we have a postcard up in our home which shows a similar view. It helps in staying actively alert that anti-semitism and other people group persecution still happens.
Yet how easy it is to do so. When tough circumstances come along, we can so quickly forget what there is to be grateful for.
Perhaps right now you are facing something that seems overwhelming and you have lost sight of anything that gives any sense of well-being, peace or joy.
May be there are things during 2017 that we would have rather not happened – I am with you on that. May be some of what has occurred, you would rather forget and certainly not repeat!
If so, I think it is good to be honest in our praying to God about these things and seek His healing. To be honest in talking with others too that we trust. It can be healthy to acknowledge tough stuff when we look back over the past 12 months. But let’s not get stuck there.
Who God is – Jesus said, “anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father” (John 14:9). All who want to know God(not just know ideas about God), can look to Jesus Christ.
God can be trusted, even though circumstances may scream out that the opposite is true! “The Lord is trustworthy in all his promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down” (Psalm 145:13-14)
Who we are in Christ (or if not a Christian reading this, you can know this also): “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
We are not on our own in this – He has given us His Holy Spirit as a counsellor just like Christ, He has given us His Word and He has given us church community. We need all three.
We can look to Him for the future with definite hope: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13)
As we step out of 2017 and into 2018, let’s pray that this last verse quoted above will be true in each of our lives – not just for ourselves but for others too. This world needs hope and in Christ such hope exists! Don’t forget!
Happy New Year!