2005 has been an exciting chapter in my own life. Among some of eventful things which took place were: my dad going into septic shock while on vacation with my mom in Hawaii, my dad having to have major surgery, my brother being deployed to Iraq, my three-month stint on the Amazon River in Brazil, my grandpa having open-heart surgery because of a genetic problem, finding out that both my uncles, my mom, and I have this genetic problem, becoming more aware of God's sovereingty in the midst of suffering, purchasing a really old, antique copy of Berkhof's Systematic Theology, starting this blog, and everyone growing a year older.
One thought that has meant a lot to me this year has been, "You don't grow much in Christ during the easy times." It's the hard times that show us how dependent upon Christ we are. It is the trials which force us to lean on Him to be our comfort. It is the loneliness which reminds us that God is our only truly faithful friend. It is bad health which shows us that our only hope is Jesus. It is our imperfections which reminds us that Jesus lived the only perfect life.
This is why we thank God for struggles. We rejoice that God is ordaining hardships for us. This is why we smile (with tears in our eyes) when we say that our suffering is personalized individually for us. It's handmade stuff. It was made for us with us in God's mind.
And it's not just for the suffering itself. It's for something else.
"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5
It produces hope. The Holy Spirit fills our hearts with God's love. This is the best thing for us.
So, as is popular tradition, here are my top ten New Year's Resolutions:
- live to exalt Christ's name
- live like I have one week left to live
- live for the sake of partaking in Christ's sufferings
- live for eternity, not the here and now
- live riskfully and wisely at the same time
- live healthfully
- live joyfully
- live to kill sin
- live to die to self
- live as would most please God
Now, what are yours?