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As another decade ends tonight, all I can say is good riddance!
There is no question that the past 10 years have been the most difficult of my life with one major problem after another pushing me down. It has often felt like I’m at the bottom of a vicious dog pile.
The decade started with a divorce, foreclosure and bankruptcy in 2010. It ended being forced to close a 10-year-old business for telling the truth, my father-figure dying, my mother battling cancer and my car being totaled while stopped at a traffic light.
In between all that, I suffered a stroke, had two businesses fail, and had another car literally explode on the highway.
I was falsely accused of doing some pretty hideous things in someone’s vain attempt to keep a job to the point I was investigated by police for several months.
I lost my entire church family once following my divorce, and lost my new church family again during the above investigation.
I even lost three lovely foster granddaughters who had been part of my life for 3.5 years when a judge ordered them returned to their birth mother.
Yet, on the bright side, I welcomed three pretty exceptional sons-in-law to the family, as well as two adorable grandchildren, and the year closes with my oldest daughter expecting her first child in a few months.
In an act of incredible obedience to God, my youngest daughter, who lost the three girls on her birthday last year, stepped up and welcomed two new foster children into her home this fall.
During the past 10 years, I took my first cruise, published my first book, got to visit Europe for the first time and enjoyed an opportunity to visit all 48 lower states at least once during a three-year motorhome trip.
I also traveled the entire length of the original 1930s alignment of the famed Route 66 highway – a course followed by millions of other broke and broken men.
Tonight, as I reflect on the very challenging decade soon to disappear into my memory, I came to the conclusion that far more bad things happened over the past 10 years than positive experiences.
Still, my faith is considerably stronger – exponentially stronger – today than it was Dec. 31, 2009.
Through all the ordeals, my relationship with God became very, very real. Over and over again, God showed up at just the right time.
“Trust me,” I kept hearing him say so often that I know now that I can trust him beyond any doubt to resolve in my favor whatever Satan tries to throw at me.
New Year’s Eve is the right time to reflect on what the writer of Ecclesiastes noted in Chapter 3:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
The new year is an ideal time for us to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are at this moment in time, and where we are headed in the future.
After crawling to this point, there already so many positive signs on the horizon that I’m confident the next 10 years will more than make up for the previous decade.
Tomorrow, as the sun comes up on the next decade, I sense that I will never be free of troubles, because Jesus assures us of that in John 16:33:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I have overcome a lot.
You, too, are an overcomer! In fact, you’re more than that. You are a conqueror!
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:35-39
Is there something you need to let go of today?
Do it! Trust God and open your hand to let it drop. He’ll clean up the mess – even if you caused it.
Unforgiveness and bitterness have no place in the life of a man or woman who calls Christ Lord.
So, don’t give Satan a foothold to subject you to a barrage of harassment in the year ahead. Let it go!
I’m convinced 2020 will be a year of new vision and clarity.
Regardless of the year you’re just wrapping up – or the decade for that matter – reflect on God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
But, that’s just part of the promise. It continues:
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.” – Jeremiah 29:12-14a
May 2020 be as bright as your faith!