Let’s face it, 2022 was a terrible year, and from the looks of it, 2022 isn’t shaping up to be much better.
But you know what? I’ve found one of the most amazing things about humanity is our ability to be resilient. No matter how horrible an experience may be, no matter how badly it battered us, most people will “dust ourselves off and try again,” to quote Aaliyah.
Humanity also has the ability to be hopeful. The challenge is what we place our hope in. If there’s one thing that the past two years of COVID have taught us, is that everything is in flux. My wife calls the situation “precarious.” And it is. Nothing appears to be completely safe; nothing feels completely secure. So what is steady in the midst of all this uncertainty? What can we place our hope in?
In the Bible, the title character in the book of Job loses virtually everything. From his children to his property and even his health to within a hair of his own life, Job literally has only a nagging wife and a shard of pottery to scratch his boils. Despite all that affliction–foisted on him by Satan but given the go-signal by God–Job still placed his hope and security in God. He had doubts, but he never “cursed God and died,” as his totally unhelpful and bitter spouse advised him to do. At the end of the book, we learn that God restores everything to Job and then some.
Not all lives have happy endings like this; there is tragedy all around us. But there is something about hope–and placing it in a source of security that will never waver, like God–that inspires us to go on. It’s understandable for people undergoing an extremely trying season to simply turn their back on their faith. But when we place our faith in God, when we place our hope in Him, when He becomes our source of security, it changes how we live.
Kindness becomes more natural; compassion becomes par for the course; forgiveness becomes easier to bestow. Trials become opportunities to rely on Him more; tribulations are precisely those, tribulations, situations that will come and go.
We all have our crosses to carry, our hells to plod through, and our journeys to navigate. Whoever is with us on the journey can help us navigate the trip, and I choose to go wherever God takes me. That’s just me. And I struggle with it as much as anyone else out there. I’ve prayed through bitter tears; I’ve begged and pleaded and bargained, as much as my own limited understanding of His love, mercy and grace will allow. Some prayers were answered with a resounding Yes; others were answered with a quiet No; yet others are still being processed.
I hope that God will answer them the way I want them answered. But I know that He will answer them in a way that’s best for me. Shaping me to become the best in whatever role I’m playing: son, husband, father, friend, working professional, writer, volunteer. I can only hope to mirror, as best as I can, the compassion and kindness He’s shown me.
I hope that whatever you’re going through, I hope that you’re journeying through it with God, or someone who mirrors His compassion, kindness and love. And frankly, I hope this post encourages you somehow. Social media often is a curated library of the best and the brightest, and people don’t really see what other people are going through. And when they do, they can be judgmental, critical, and disastrously unhelpful in offering up tired platitudes and empty Bible verses (I imagine a few of you are probably thinking that of this post right now). But for whatever it’s worth, even if I can’t necessarily say to you that I know exactly what you’re going through, do know that I feel for you, I understand your pain, and I am praying for you.
Stay secure, stay resilient, and stay hopeful. I declare it will be a year of healing for all of us. God bless, my friends.