Doug Creamer: A year in the rearview mirror

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 29, 2018

Doug Creamer

            There are only a few more days left in 2018. For all of you check-writers, we are going to have to learn to write 2019 soon. I always struggle to remember what year it is in January. Ready or not, we are about to launch into a new year.

            Some people are ready for 2018 to end. I know it’s been a tough year for some people. They have dealt with sickness, pain, loss of loved ones, loss of employment, loss of their homes due to hurricanes or fire; a year they may look back on and wish it had never been born.

            Others will remember 2018 fondly. This was a great year for them. They had a baby or a grandchild, got married, bought a new home, started an exciting new job, traveled to wonderful places, had great family gatherings, and will remember this year as one of the best in their lives.

            No matter what you do, every year is filled with joys and sorrows, hellos and good-byes, laughter and tears, victories and defeats. We can’t escape the fact that we all have ups and downs throughout any given year. Some years have greater highs, while others deeper lows.

            The Bible teaches us to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep. When you buy a new car or house, it’s clear that I am called to come over and rejoice at your new acquisition. When you have a sorrow that feels inconsolable, I am called to come over and weep with you, to hold you, and if necessary, carry you in my arms.

            It’s easy to figure out what I do with good news. I smile, jump for joy, shout it from the roof tops, and make sure I take a few quiet moments to thank my Father in Heaven. Most of us know how it feels to get a new car. It’s so fun and exciting to drive a new car. Buying a new home and settling in is a great experience. There is nothing like waking up in your new home.

            While it is easy to praise God when things are good, what do you do when things turn south? What happens when the news from the doctor is not what you want to hear? How do you handle the pink slip in the pay check? What could ever comfort you in the loss of a loved one? I want to remind you that Jesus wept with Mary and Martha at the loss of Lazarus. He felt their pain and experienced their loss with them. Jesus wept.

            In those moments, He understands our pain and sorrow. Jesus is weeping with us. He doesn’t expect us to get up in a day or two and return to normal, because normal has changed. We have to have faith that He is with us. We have to believe that His angels are all around us…some of whom are wearing friends’ and families’ faces and hugs. We have to let others carry our burdens. Don’t give up on God no matter what you are feeling. The reason you can’t see His face is that you are nestled into His arms close to His heart.

            We all had different experiences in 2018, as unique as each of us is in God’s eyes. Whether your year was ordinary or full of the unexpected, He stood beside you every moment of every day. His desire this year, next year, and every year is that you would grow closer to Him. He wants you to lean on Him, to trust Him in all circumstances, to believe that He is planning a good future for you in spite of the past. It’s important to know that God believes in you and wants the very best for you.

            I want to encourage you to pack up all the memories of 2018 and put them in a safe place. I know that some of you would prefer to toss out all the bad memories, but I know from personal experience that the bad things drew me closer to God. They became stepping stones to a deeper relationship with Him. The good memories we want to hold and treasure as we walk into 2019, but those too need to be put to rest. God has new things for the upcoming year, new and wonderful experiences that we will need to make room for in our hearts. So we bid 2018 farewell, and we welcome 2019 with all its joys and pains, because we know that by the end of 2019 we want everything in our lives to draw us closer to God our Father.

Contact Doug at doug@dougcreamer.com

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