I remember Monday, April 7, 2008. I walked down to the creek beside our home and sat on the bridge. It was easy to pray on such a beautiful day. The cerulean sky erupted in white, pierced by the rays of an energetic sun, while a casual cloud or two drifted by, oblivious and serene. Winter had fled, replaced by a warmth that seemed to radiate from all the new life growing green around me.
And when I prayed, I thanked God that things had finally turned around. That the last several years of struggle were over. That everything in the world finally seemed right for my family. That now was a time to let down the guard, to let the watchmen rest, to know peace instead of strife and uncertainty. I thanked God with tears in my eyes. Our new dog, which had wandered into our lives a few days previous, probably wondered what kind of blubbering owner she had come to choose. I didn’t care; I was happy.
But now the dog is gone. Many things I thanked God for that sunny April day are not the same, for mere hours after I prayed that prayer of gratefulness, the world fell apart.
It seemed cruel that the weight that long crushed us lifted so briefly, only to be replaced by a devastating burden my wife and I could not have imagined if you gave us a year to write out all the possible twists and turns life can take. So it is living as dust.
As 2008 comes to a close, it ends as a year no crystal ball might have foretold.
You would think that at 46 I would have completed my growing up, but God has many surprises among His riches, and growth at this late stage would not have been one I would have guessed.
But this is what I have to say to you:
God still cares about you and me.
Sometimes the worst events in life have a wisdom of their own, even if we are not smart enough at the time of their coming to see it.
Ten thousand flaming chariots surround the ones the Lord loves.
You and I are not clever enough to chart our own way.
No one can live without the support of others.
Tough times make for tough people, but only if they learn to believe and trust the Lord.
Humility must come at the time of greatest need or else that need will go unfilled.
There are no crystal balls, no wayback machines, so learn to live in the present.
That which we fear will own us in the end, if we let it.
Each of us must walk through the Valley of Despair, though each valley is unique for each person.
Let go and let God.
I can’t tell you in detail what happened this year. Google has an elephant’s memory and never forgets. But I want to thank all of you who prayed. It may be a cliché to say that I could feel those prayers as this year lurched and stumbled along, but I did. And to those few who supported my family financially this year through donations through Cerulean Sanctum, my lasting gratitude goes out to you. As I said, no one can live without the support of others.
This has been a hard year for many people. 2009 promises to be even harder if trends continue as they are. The economic downward spiral will test many. Some will face, like we did, health issues that will test their mettle. (I just learned that David Wayne of Jollyblogger is facing stage 4 liver cancer that has metastisized.) Tomorrow is an uncertainty.
While some will rejoice in 2009, others will weep. But whatever happens, know that the Lord is with you and will never stop being with you because He loves you with an indescribable love, no matter what you are going through.