Have you ever been happily reading an enjoyable book when suddenly a sentence hits you right between the eyes? In The Furious Longing of God,1 Brennan Manning writes:
Recently, I decided to attend some free knitting and crocheting classes offered at a local community center. The idea of learning new things is more appealing to me at 63 than it has been for quite some time. Besides, I was hopeful that it would be beneficial in combating stress, something my doctor recently warned was affecting my health.
I love playing the tile-matching video game Tetris. The reason I like it is that I can plan it all out by looking at the pieces that will come up next, and as they come down, I can fit them all in place evenly and lower the stack. At least, that’s the idea.
It could be said that there are many types of heroism. First, the everyday heroic acts that are performed by unsung heroes that step in to save the day in ways that we infrequently hear of. Second, the famous heroes we admire—pioneers in medicine, defenders of peace and justice, rescuers of the lost, champions of faith. And then, in a league of His own, is the Superhero of all time: Jesus, who conquered death for Himself and all who believe.1
In one of the most powerful and poetic chapters of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul describes the sort of love Christians are meant to embody: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”1
As we stand before the New Year, we don’t know what’s in store for us. But there’s one thing we do know, and that is that we can leave the past, with all of its cares, pains, heartaches, and mistakes, behind. We can’t undo one single act or unsay one single word, but if we will give our grief and regrets to God, He can make this New Year a fresh start.
Every day of the past year is beyond our reach, and we should leave it there. God has the past in His keeping, and we should not go back and be tormented with regrets. It’s sad how some people say they’re trusting God, yet they worry about the blots and stains on the pages of their past.
Life wasn’t designed to coast through without any troubles or hardships. There will always be setbacks, difficulties, and pressures, but if you learn to see those as challenges that I can help you overcome, I will do just that.
I want to lift the weight of uncertainty from your shoulders. I want you to hold on to the knowledge that no matter how great the need, how dark the night, or how seemingly impossible the situation, I am in control and never fail those who turn to Me for help. No matter what you are up against, you and I can overcome it. Allow Me to work on your behalf.
I realized recently that I had been giving myself a “grouch allowance” when certain things happened.
They were mostly trivial things like having to clean up a mess when I was tired or my husband being late—things that I could have easily gotten through if I hadn’t predetermined that I had the right to get grouchy in those circumstances.