2013 is done and gone. And frankly, I’m glad to see it go. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, this past year has been one of the worst years of my life. But in addition to making one miserable, having a rotten year can also be an excellent and effective teacher. Here are three lessons I’ve learned:
First, I’ve learned to love the Psalms. They say misery loves company, and there is something very comforting about having someone else pour out his heart in words I can’t seem to find in mine. Just listen to a few of the many verses of the Psalms I’ve relied on this past year:
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul. (94:19)
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them. (34:7)
But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (73:2, 23-24, 26)
I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,
But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord,
I say, “You are my God.”
How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the Lord. (31:7, 14, 19, 24)
The Psalms have reminded me that this is not my burden to bear. God will fight for me if I allow Him to, rather than trying to control everything myself. I can’t do it; but He can!
When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You. (56:3)
And I can’t leave out an old favorite from Psalm 55:22,
Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
Second, I’ve learned the necessity of daily focusing on the positive. I’ve been blessed so abundantly, yet it’s easy to look past all the great people and things I’ve been gifted with if I’m focused on the rotten parts. Spending time every day expressing sincere thanksgiving goes a long way toward helping keep the focus on what’s great about this life.
Third, I’ve learned to long for heaven. Yes, I’ll admit it: Sometimes my world is SO good, SO easy, SO comfortable, that I lose sight of the fact that we who are Christians are just passing through this world on our way to heaven.
But this year I have looked forward to Christ’s return like never before, and it has kept me going forward. In the words of Psalm 27:13,
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
So, maybe it wasn’t such a rotten year after all, since I learned some much-needed lessons.
What about you? I hope 2013 was FANTASTIC for each of you reading this post. But I suspect I’m not the only one who’s had it hard this year. If it’s been a difficult one for you, too, why not take a moment right now to leave me a comment and let me know what YOU are truly thankful for? You may be surprised at how quickly it will put a smile on your face, just acknowledging one of the many ways God has blessed you recently. In fact, even if you’ve just had your best year ever, I still encourage you to share what you’re thankful for here. Maybe, just maybe, it will be the perfect reminder the rest of us need.
Thanks for stopping by!