Letting go and grabbing hold

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

II Corinthians 4:8-9

By the time you read this, 2018 will be nearly over – or completely over.  We will have a brand new year before us.  A year with the usual 12 months, 365 days, 8,760 hours, and 525,600 minutes.  So what are we going to do with all this ticking of a new clock?  But there is another question I would like us to ask ourselves – what are we carrying over from 2018 into 2019?  Are we dragging into the New Year a sack full of bitter memories, painful experiences, and throbbing, irritating troubles from life’s 2018 sufferings? 

What the apostle Paul is telling us in these verses in II Corinthians 4 is that there is pain that leads to death, but it can also lead to life.  The difference is this: In one case a person accumulates their pains in a sack and deals with them on an entirely human level filled with emotion.  This causes their sack to become heavy with bitterness, cynicism and complaining.  On the other hand, a person invites God into their pain and allows Him to clear out their sack of all the unwanted things, and then guide their future.  When we do this, God turns what would have been senseless suffering into a spiritual discipline, and that makes a better person emerge from within us.

Everything that happens to us has the potential to give us life or death, especially the trials and difficulties we experience.  Some people look at trials as a death sentence.  Death of a dream.  Death of a relationship.  Death of purpose and joy.  They allow their trials to become something that damages who God wants us to be.  They carry their burdens around in a heavy sack that becomes too difficult for them to maintain.  Their strength wanes.  While others view trials as a potential for a richer life.  A life that is full of opportunities for God to work miracles.  They allow God to make commonplace trials into amazing experiences that mold them into the person God wants them to be.  The choice is ours.

The question is not where our pain came from or who caused it in 2018.  The question is – are we going to lay down our torn wretched 2018 sack full of pain, and allow God to  do some awesome things in our lives in 2019?    

                                                                                        Happy New Year!