2016 was certainly a year to remember.
The horrific uptick in terrorism across the globe, and in places as diverse as Paris, Ankara, San Bernadino, and Berlin, struck renewed fear in the hearts of people the world over. No one, nowhere, is safe in a world where hate-filled murderers can use everything from guns and bombs to knives and automobiles to inflict their damage. Terror groups such as ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, even remnants of Al Qaeda, among others, almost vie for air time with their sheer violence and brutality.
On the home front, protests and rioting became a regular occurrence, over everything from alleged police brutality, “white privilege”, election results, or anyone not getting their way.
Commentary: when violence and property destruction takes place, it is no longer a “protest”, protected under our Constitution, but is a riot and anarchy, clearly NOT protected by law.
Politics took a turn into the unexpected this year, with England voting to leave the European Union, against all predictions, pundits and prognosticators. Then here in America, a billionaire populist candidate named Donald Trump defied all odds and detractors, defeating the highest funded and promoted establishment candidate in U.S. presidential history, Hillary Clinton. Now, outsider candidates across the globe are ousting long-standing political powers in various countries, like an unanticipated tsunami.
The year saw numerous celebrities pass away, from music icons Prince, Glenn Frey, Merle Haggard, David Bowie, and George Michael, to legendary actors and actresses Alan Rickman, Alan Thicke, Florence Henderson, Gene Wilder, Doris Roberts, Anton Yelchin, even Carrie Fisher and mom Debbie Reynolds, within a day of each other. International figures as beloved as Muhammad Ali and as despised (by Cubans) as Fidel Castro, legends like John Glenn and Nancy Reagan, all passed away in 2016. Influencers like Justice Antonin Scalia, Prime Minister Shimon Peres, conservative Phyllis Schlafly, 60s radical Tom Hayden, sports legends like NCAA coach Pat Summitt, ESPN anchor John Saunders, and MLB’s Joe Garagiola, all said their goodbyes this past year. These are but a few from the long list of passings in 2016.
What a year indeed.
And yet, I find it reassuring that despite sudden, unexpected changes in the world around me and in my own life and family, I’m thankful that some things never change. The love of my beloved wife of nearly 30 years, the joy of watching our girls building lives of their own, the precious moments with extended family and friends, all are dear to me. But the most cherished anchor for my soul is my relationship with my Heavenly Father, my Savior Jesus Christ, and my constant companion, His Holy Spirit. I’m so inconsistent, so easily distracted or led astray, but He remains the same- “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) And His Word, the Bible, remains true and solid, unchanging in an age of ever-evolving morals and ethics. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
We don’t know what 2017 holds, but we know Who holds 2017.
I for one, find great comfort in that. An anchor for my soul.