Up And Down And Up Again

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the new year, and a new decade! As we stand on the starting line of this new season of life, I know that many of us are thinking about the future - wondering what this new year and new decade will have for us. And for a lot of us, as we look at the blank canvases of what has yet to be painted, there is a sense of excitement, as we consider all that might happen over the next days, weeks, months, and years to come.

At the same time, I know that some of us are thinking back over the year and the decade that we have just finished, and remembering the highs and lows of life over the past ten years. For our family, this past decade had amazing times of joy, and at the same time, there were very real moments of heartbreak. And as I think about the decade ahead of us, I am fully aware that this pattern of “highs and lows” in life will continue.

But I also know that this is the way life is for all of us. We have joy in the midst of heartbreak, and heartbreak in the midst of joy. To be honest, it’s something I didn’t really understand when I was younger. I used to think that I would either have periods of complete joy in life, where everything was great - or, I would have periods of struggling with difficult and challenging things all around. It didn’t occur to me that the joy and heartbreak could be mixed together. But what I’ve learned over the years of is that, in the midst of heartbreak, I will find things to be joyful about - and in the midst of joy, life will still have hard things to deal with.

However, the other thing I’ve learned over the years is that, whether it’s joy or heartbreak that is happening in life, God is with me. And I know this to be true because I’ve experienced it. God has been with me through births and marriages and graduations and promotions and homecomings and cancers being healed. God has also been with me in the failures and disappointments and broken relationships and sicknesses and Alzheimers and difficult diagnoses and good byes and deaths. In all of it - the good and the bad - God has been with me. And what is true for me, is true for all of us who belong to Him. Deuteronomy 31:6 confirms this truth, as we’re told that, “The LORD will neither fail us, nor abandon us.”

Folks, God is with us.

What an amazing truth and reality to hold on to as we look ahead at this new decade! We can go into this new season of life confidently because we know that through the joys and difficult things ahead, we are not alone. And even though we cannot fully imagine what those joys and difficulties will be, we already know what it will be like to have God with us, because He’s been with us each and every day up to this very moment.

So as we move forward into this new year and new decade, let’s do so with confidence – knowing that whatever lies ahead, we will be okay, because we have God with us through it all.

Amen?

Daniel

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