The past year may have been hard, but God is still with us for whatever the next year brings:
In a few hours 2023 will be over – at least for us down under. Many of you will say with me that it has been quite a year. Indeed, the 2020s have been quite a decade so far. The first two years gave us the Covid craziness. And here in Melbourne we had to endure one of the longest, harshest, and most totalitarian lockdowns anywhere in the world.
Who can forget being locked in your own home 23 hours a day, and then our kind overlords allowing us to go 5 kms in the one free hour? It was one of the most hellish periods of my life, as it was for so many millions of others. How many committed suicide during this period? How many lost their jobs and livelihoods? How many have never recovered?
Just when it all started to end, with seemingly brighter days ahead, this household at least was rocked by another major storm. Just a month into 2022 we learned about Averil’s rare and aggressive breast cancer. No sooner than when we were trying to recover from the Covid tyranny, we had to get into another major life and death battle.
I kept track of the next 18 months, recording almost daily what we were going through. I possibly might turn all that into a book one day, although there are so many better writers who have written up similar struggles. But if nothing else, I have a record of what went on for that year and a half.
It was of course a real up and down affair, with some days seeming to be better than others for her. She had done it all: the double mastectomy, the chemo, the radiation, then more surgeries, more chemo, more radiation, etc. Sometimes it seemed that perhaps she was turning the corner.
One year ago today I had posted this short message on the social media: “I took my wife out for lunch – first time in at least 10 months I believe. Sat outside – nice weather and nice food. Betty’s Burgers – pretty tasty. However, I did warn her that I would not be doing that anymore this year.”
Well, that did not last very long. Things started going downhill soon thereafter, in quite dramatic fashion. She managed to hang on for another six months, passing into glory on July 5. So I have just had my first Christmas without her in well over 40 years. In a few days I will silently note the 6 months since her departure. Thankfully she is in a terrific place right now.
In addition to the personal struggles most of has have had to plow through this past year, there has been no let up on the other battle fronts, including the culture wars. The progressive left and the woke wonders have simply brought more mayhem, mischief, and destruction with them, attacking everything of value and worth. Faith, family and freedom all continue to take a beating.
One meme now circulating nicely highlights the steady regress – not progress – of the dying culture we are in: A man on a 1950s telephone says this: “Hello people of 2023! Have you colonised Mars yet? Do you have flying cars?” After a pause he asks: “What do you mean you don’t know what a woman is?”
That about sums it up. Things are not looking too hot, at least in the West. It continues on its downward spiral. There is little hope of things turning around – unless God breaks through in a big way. But although we can so easily despair as we look around us, we can take hope as we look to Him.
Being the end of the year, my daily Bible reading has also come to an end, with the final chapters of the final book of Scripture read once again. Tomorrow it is back to Genesis 1 once again, and we start the whole thing over. Remember, just 3 and a bit chapters a day will see you get through the entire Bible in a year. Why not try it? It would make for a great New Year’s resolution.
Related to all this, I posted the following this morning:
Last day of the year – second last chapter in the Bible – terrific news in Revelation 21:1-4:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Or as I said in yesterday’s article, quoting one commentator: “the fall of Babylon is certain”. Yep, the world system, with all the evil and debauchery and degradation and anti-God sentiment, will soon enough be no more. As the very last chapter of the Bible says (in Rev. 22:12-15):
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Keep in mind that there is real choice here. As the two previous verses state:
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
I do not know what 2024 will have in store for us. And it is a good thing none of us know. It might be even a harder, tougher and more stressful year than 2023. But whatever transpires, we know that we have a God who is with us to the very end.
Two very useful quotes from Paul Washer which I just saw online are worth sharing here as we welcome in the New Year:
“The strongest believer struggles with sin and failure, creating doubt and discouragement. We need assurance that we will reach the finish line. It is not the ‘little train that could’ mentality that will bring us to victory, but the blood of Christ and the faithfulness of God.”
“May this next year bring you closer to Christ and farther away from the lesser passions which would steal you from Him.”
Happy New Year