I’m sitting here on New Year’s morning, after celebrating with family and friends the coming of 2016.
Last year gave much to reflect upon, and I’m thankful for all of it. 2015 was a year of renewal, and rest from the storms. Let me explain-
The past several years have been very tumultuous. In 2012 I lost a close friend and brother in the Lord, Aaron Smith, a friend from childhood I had reconnected with. Aaron came to faith in Christ, we shared much time motorcycle riding, discussing spiritual matters, and just enjoying friendship. In early 2012 he was found to have an aggressive prostate cancer, and by May he was gone. His sudden passing shaped the rest of the year for me.
Then 2013 saw the loss of a job I’d held at Hebron Baptist Church for over 13 years. In all my life, I had never been let go or fired from any job I had ever held. But here I was, in my early 50s, suddenly unemployed. It rocked my world, shook me to my foundations, especially since I had done nothing to warrant the dismissal. I spent the rest of the year wrestling with God about what I was supposed to do next, at this stage of my life.
2014 came and I lost my health. Beginning with spiked blood pressure, followed by sleepless nights, heart problems, hyperthyroid issues, dramatic weight loss, and anxiety attacks, suddenly I found myself staring at the “C word”- cancer. A large, spreading tumor was found in my bladder. Doctors removed it, began an aggressive chemo regimen, and I spent the rest of the year dealing with the mental, emotional, as well as physical repercussions of it all.
Yet in all these, I felt the presence of God, leading me through each year, like I never had before.
2015 was a bit of a respite. My health was largely restored (albeit a small bladder cancer recurrence which was easily dealt with), the new ventures God had opened for me all widened and grew (teaching at DCA, preaching at Phoenix Community, leading 127 Legacy Foundation, writing, selling motorcycles, etc.), and many blessings in our family. Both our girls graduated and earned their respective degrees, we took our first-ever family cruise together, and we enjoyed much time with each of our extended families. A good year.
And through it all, God continued to provide for our every need, according to His riches in glory.
I don’t know what the new year holds, whether storms or calm seas. Maybe a little of both. God only knows. But I do know this- He has a plan for us, He is with us, and He goes before us. And He is good. In that, I am confident. In that, I welcome 2016.