The Hard January Day

masksOne of the saddest parts of the New Year is clicking on a news article and seeing tragedy. I absolutely hate it. I struggle knowing that it is the first — the first of many, many more. 

Christmastime brims with hope, joy, and life! I look forward to the day with great excitement, and when it arrives, I feel so encouraged. Then tragedy mars the joyous New Year, and all the hope, promise, and wonder of the Christmas season seems to end. 
However, recently I came to the realization that I’ve looked at this entire thing backwards.
The year 2016 contained much joy and much sadness. Though mixed with happiness, it definitely came with hard times — both personally and globally. I experienced grief, loss, and heartache. Even so, Christmastime came with the celebration of Jesus Christ, and the joy and hope was palpable. No matter the difficulties 2016 had brought, I still harbored peace and celebrated joy at the end! 
Heartache and grief cannot rule when God is the King of my heart!
The hard January day is coming. It will come over and over again this year, but we have HOPE. We have God’s truth! We can be saddened by the tragedies around us, but hopeful that God heals! We can grieve at the personal battles before us, but rest in God’s strength! We can know with assurance that He makes the hard, unwanted things glorify Him. 
I can’t understand how He does this, but I know that the hardship and trials we will face in 2017 will not be forgotten by our God and will come to good! It may not be the good we expect or desire, but it will be good. God’s good. And that is better than any good we can think of!
We don’t have to fear what is coming because we have our faithful God. We don’t have to grieve without hope or live without joy. We are alive. We are at peace! We are safe in God’s faithful promises. 
As I come upon that first hard January day, I won’t only look at the tragedy and the loss. I will look at my God who, in His infinite sovereignty, can make even this a vehicle for His goodness and grace. At the end of 2017, Christmastime will come just as sure as it has in the past. We will celebrate the promise of HOPE, and then we will spend the entirety of a New Year living it out!
So, I encourage all of us to take this day and live out our hope in God — no matter what comes and no matter what doesn’t.


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