Like most of you, I've spent much of the past few days thinking over 2016. Actually, I reflect over the current year's events for most of December. Typically, I look for themes. I like to sum up the year with a word or a phrase. For the past five years, that's been hard to do. They've been full of all kinds of adventures.... most of which I wouldn't have asked for. But, all have served positive purposes.
So, I'm ending 2016 with the same thought I've had in summing up the past years, THIS has been the best year yet!
Even to me, though, that sounds a little absurd. Our last five years have been filled with trauma, change, questions, heartache, disappointment, stress, and much uncertainty. Yet, God has used it all to point us to Himself. He's allowed us (for 5 straight years!) to reach the end of ourselves so that we could find out He has no ending.
Our family received year passes to Busch Gardens in Tampa for Christmas this year, and we've been using them a lot! I absolutely love roller coasters. The boys are old enough that they'll try just about anything. But, Claire is still uncertain. We've been pushing her to get on the larger ones, because we can tell she wants so badly to ride. She's just scared. Her fear grows the longer we stand in a line; so, I've been saying the same things to her over and over....
You know you won't fall out!
The coaster is designed to hold you in!
You'll only make it worse to stress over the whole ride!
Since you know you won't fall, you can relax and enjoy the ups and downs, curves and hills, plunges and speeds.
It's all fun and pure enjoyment when you rest into the bars and straps that will keep you safe.
Suddenly, in one of our last visits, I realized that this understanding is why we've enjoyed the past five years so intensely. Yes, they've been tough and uncertain. But, they've ushered us into a deeper walk with Him. God has used all of our crazy events to demonstrate His power, so we get to rest in Him even in the roller coaster life.
Until 2011, we were riding the kiddie rides of life, because that felt safe! My version of safe was boring. God's version of safe is exciting! I'm not suggesting a lifestyle of throwing caution to the wind. I am talking about living life full of His Spirit and following wherever He leads. Trusting God and knowing that Jesus Christ is with us every step of the way can make even the wildest of rides enjoyable, exciting, and fun!
So, it's 2017! What will this year hold? The Rogers are ending a year that began with such joyful anticipation. God placed a desire for ministry in our hearts, opened a door, and moved us quickly. We coasted for a little while and treasured the peaceful feeling we received. God was faithful in leading us, and we trusted He'd led us right where He wanted us. Then came the plunge. Disappointment and discouragement loomed until our situation simply had to change. So, we end this year with even more questions and a lot of uncertainty.
But, we are enjoying this ride! Every single day, God is demonstrating His faithfulness to us. He's showing us that we are indeed exactly where He wants us. The next steps of His plan will be revealed, and I believe we will stand in awe AGAIN at His great care for us.
Until then, we will not fear! I'm sure this year will be full of more ups and downs, twists and turns, and high speed plunges. It's called LIFE. But, we choose to rest in His arms.
That's an exciting place!
It's a hopeful place!
And, it's the safest place!
The eternal God is a dwelling place (refuge), and underneath are the everlasting arms.