As 2016 reaches its conclusion in just a few short hours, many of us look back on this year and will be happy to see it end. I think about this year and if anything it has taught me that there is only one God, and I’m not Him! You see, if asked, I could have really given God some pointers on making 2016 better.
I would have told Him to choose two better candidates for President, and then told Him who to pick as the winner.
I would have told Him not to subject this part of the country to drought and wildfires this fall.
I would have told Him to keep all the racial strife on the down low, because it makes me uncomfortable.
I would have told Him to destroy those who are persecuting Christians around the world because of their faith.
I would have told Him to let Carrie Fisher make that last Star Wars movie, but if not then don’t take her mother the next day.
I would have told Him that so many of the “celebrities” we saw pass this year still had more to give or to share.
I would have told Him that my cousin Loretta was too young to take from cancer.
I would have told Him that the same weekend was the wrong time to take Linda home.
I would have told Him to let Jackson stick around and grow us a few more gardens.
I would have told Him to keep here Raymond a little longer so he could see the church he loved continue to grow.
I would have told Him that Lois had more love to give to her family and our church.
I would have told Him that LH needed to come to a few more Brotherhood breakfasts.
I would have told Him that we needed to sing What a Day for Glenn a few more times.
I would have told Him that our family and his church needed Johnny a little longer.
But you know what: the Sovereign Benevolent God of Heaven and Earth did not once ask my opinion about how He should run His universe. In fact, He gave me some advice in His book about my opinions.
Job 38 reminds me that I wasn’t there nor have I ever done God’s job. He’s been doing it pretty well for the last eternity years without my input.
He knows what He is doing, and while I may not always understand or agree with it, I know His love is unwavering. Romans 8:28 promises me that what He is doing is using all the things in my life (the good, the bad, and the ugly) for my good and His glory. And then in a great promise, He tells me in Romans 8:38-39 there is NOTHING that can separate me from His love for me. So while we can all say there are things God didn’t seek our opinion about, there was nothing that happened that He did not love us through.
As I write this, it is a reminder to me that God has grown my faith this year. My prayer in 2017 is that I trust Him more. Not that it will be easy, because growth never is, but that in circumstances that I don’t like, I would see His love and trust His heart. I can’t always know what He plans, but I know His plans are much better than anything I can come up with.
The older I get, the more precious the songs I use as lullabies for my kids become to me: I’d Rather Have Jesus, The Unseen Hand, and The Longer I Serve Him. Their words are rich in the reminder of the faithfulness of God. I pray that you, too, will find comfort in the love of God in your life in 2017!