Its new year and its full of hope and joy of knowing how God has been with us through the troubled year of 2020. While looking for what may lie ahead this new year of 2021, I cannot help to look back at the past especially about the things in my life, in my family, in the church and the world in general as well, knowing that the pandemic of the past year is still with us.

            As I was watching an old video clip of me and my wife, because we used to be a part of a music team in one church, it seems we were in good shape and inspired in serving the Lord. While I could not help to think also that there were lots of hardships to attain that “good shape” that I was looking at. I am not talking about the good shape of physique but rather how everything went smooth for the ministry. But the chaos behind the process of all that we have gone through was something sweet that I would always cherish, that is if you believe in the word process. A sweet, good looking and well shaped experiences could also mean overcoming the hurdles that accompanied them.

            John Bunyan, an English Baptist Puritan who authored the well known Pilgrim’s Progress said this, “I saw a man clothed with rags … a book in his hand and a great burden upon his back." I believe all of us has a burden in our backs, a burden that also helps us to look intently at the good side of everything.

            During Bunyan’s time, successful writers were synonymous with wealth. However, he was nearly penniless even before becoming the legendary writer of all time. He was imprisoned for twelve years for being a Separatist preacher. The hardest part was he had to leave his four children, with whom one was blind, to his young second wife (his first wife died). He depended on the charity of good people to hold his family kept on being fed. He could have chosen to be freed from jail only if he would promise he would not preach again, but he said he would rather remain in prison until moss grew on his eyelids than fail to do what God commanded.

            Perhaps a lot would say, “the more I want to obey God, the more its hard to pursue Him because of unpleasant circumstances that come”. Or maybe you would say “Is God really in control of everything even though there are situations that are really hurting us, and we feel alone?”. Yes, at the onset we tend to think that we are alone, but every Christ-believing people knows that the Bible promises us that God would never leave us nor forsake us. How should I understand this thought that He never leaves us when most of the time it seems that He is nowhere to be found?

            So how do we handle things when they do not make sense?  As Christ follower I have learned that my life is not for the fulfillment of my goals that always end up as self-glorying, rather my goal is to be with Christ and be a witness of Him. We could only understand the episodes of our lives through the lens of what God has willed to us.

            We will only understand everything if we have the light of the Word of God. The world that we are living in promises nothing but only frustrations and failures because this world is subject to futility. Just like what the writer of Ecclesiastes says, everything is vanity...  vanity of vanities (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Everything is decaying, everything gets rotten, even the most noble desire of men is subject to nothingness if it is not pleasing to God. Everything is futile because the world has no purpose, but to self destruct. Apart from the Lord everything has no purpose, everything is made to deceive men, everything is useless. The only truth that has purpose is the truth that comes from God, that even the most evil intentions of the evil one, would turn out to be in God’s sovereign process.

            In an uncertain world and circumstances, let the Word of God inspire us that faith hope and love are three things that will last forever (1 Corinthians 13:13). The faith that God is true to His words and hope that He is with us, help us in our perseverance. Now, love has a special emphasis and let’s understand it a little bit more.

            Love is really a strong word in the Bible. Romans 8:28 reminds us that all things work together for good to those who love God. The love that we have from God, came from Him also (1 John 4:19). God’s love is effectual, and it also teaches us to love God and others. Ephesians chapter one tells us more of how great the love of God is. In Ephesians 1:4,5 says that in love He predestined us, that the love of God towards His people is not measured by time. It is a love that has no beginning, and a better way to think of it also is that it has no end. We can be confident also in the words of Paul to the Romans that none can separate us from the love of Christ, not even tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, etc. (Romans 8:35). So, we may conclude that He who began the good work in us, is faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6).  We are not abandoned.

            Everything will make sense if we will open our eyes and see that the world around us, including our aspirations in life, is not about us, its all about the God who designed everything for Him (Romans 11:36). In this new year abide in Him and abide in faith, hope and love.