You’ve probably said it.
If you haven’t mentioned it yet, you probably will today or even a few days afterwards.
I believe almost every one on the planet will say something like this at some point, “Where in the world did 2014 go???”
The last calendar page of 2014 is about to turn. 2015 is upon us!
What do we think about that?
I know. I know. This is a time to reflect. We tend to cast each year in some kind of light – good or bad. We consider the previous year in terms of its past victories and failures, its joys and its sorrows, its healing and its pain, its beauty and its ugliness, or its wonder and its horror. We are relieved 2014 is finally over or we wish 2014 could linger on…just a little.bit.longer.
But it won’t. Time isn’t like that, is it? Time marches on.
One year becomes the next with the setting of the sun and the rising of the dawn.
Each year demands something new of us – our response will make all the difference. We do have a choice on how we will handle the unexpected changes of 2015. Because the truth of the matter is, we have no idea what to expect of 2015, do we?
So, here’s a thought.
Please read what James, the brother of Jesus Christ, once wrote:
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. New American Standard Bible, James 1:17
It is true. We do not know what to expect of 2015. We may have some plans laid out and some events already penciled in on our wall calendars or recorded in our digital devices. However, we have no control over what is really going to happen next.
So, as we look ahead to 2015, what if we take James’ words to heart and apply them to the circumstances and events of 2015?
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from God Himself.
The good and perfect gifts that we are bestowed with God’s great generosity are faith, purity, joy, love, peace, kindness, patience, gentleness and every other type of consolation that align our hearts with the heart of God and bless our fellow man.
And what of the bad? What about the things that happen to us that are not so good? In fact, what about the circumstances in life which are just plain awful?
What about the cancer diagnosis that we don’t know about yet?
What about the car accident that will change some one’s life forever?
What about the termination of employment that will send a family into an uncertain future?
What about the betrayal of a friend/partner that will cut through the heart?
What about the death of a loved one that came too soon?
What about the unmet desires of our hearts?
What about the torture and religious persecution occurring in the world?
What about the horrors of sex-trafficking?
What about war?
What about these very real and very painful life-altering situations? They are not good things. They are not perfect gifts from God. Are they?
No. They are not.
The imperfections, the darkness and the evil that ravage mankind do not find their source in God. No, the Father of Light shines His grace, His glory and His providence upon us all. His Light is so bright and so strong that they are able to reach the far corners of earth. No shadows are cast in His Presence. There is no darkness in Him.
This is why the second part of James’ words is critical for us to remember and embrace as we look ahead to 2015.
With God, there is no variation or shifting shadow.
With God, when our life is turned upside-down, when disease enters, when some one betrays, when death strikes, or when we find ourselves in circumstances we never-ever anticipated, we can know that our God stands firm and His Light shines bright. The dark shadows that will attempt to harm us, discourage us, or defeat us, have no power. His Light shines into the darkness and His love, mercy, and grace will shine above, below, and through every situation we face in 2015.
With God, there is no variation.
With God, there are no shifting shadows.
With God, nothing is uncertain.
With God, there is Light. There is Love. There is Peace. There is Grace. And there is always Hope.
The situations in our lives that occur in 2015 may not be perfect. In fact, some may be incredibly difficult and stretch our faith to places we never knew existed! Yet, we can depend upon our God in such times to generously pour His good and perfect gifts upon us even then. Even in our darkest and lowest hours, our God, the Father of Heavenly Lights does not change. He will shine His Light upon us and His Light of Love, Mercy, and Grace will do its work to sustain us, strengthen us, and propel us onwards in faith.
Here is my prayer for the New Year; perhaps it may be yours as well for 2015!
I praise your name, Father of Lights. Thank you for every good thing you bestow upon me! Thank you for every perfect gift that you pour into my life and the lives of those I love from above. We need your love, your grace, your purity, and your providence as we greet the New Year. Thank you for your reassurance that you are with us and that you do not change – even as we anticipate various, unexpected changes in our lives in the coming year. There is no variation in you. Dark, unpredictable shadows do not exist in your Presence. You are stable. How we need to know this truth and rely upon it!
Thank you, Dear Lord. I love you and I am grateful that you love me. May your Light shine into every situation in my life in 2015 for the glory, honor and praise of your Name.
May 2015 be the year I choose to live in the Light of your Love, Grace, Mercy, and Providence regardless of how my circumstances change. My hope is in You.