Life is made up of numerous little events but also some occasional momentous ones. Life involves numerous little choices but also some occasional big choices.
This past week, amongst all the busyness of the ordinary daily routines and the added pressure of sending out Christmas cards to the family I was shocked to hear of the death of a Facebook acquaintance, who I knew from my days in Sydney. Anthony died suddenly of a heart attack – and he wasn’t even fifty-years old yet.
This past week, amidst the routines of ordinary duties as well as preparing for the festive season, I was shocked to receive a text message that my daughter’s teacher from last year had undergone drastic cancer surgery. Becky had had breast cancer some years ago and was in remission but suddenly it came back.
I visited Becky in hospital last night and asked her how she was coping. She made an observation that I have noticed so often and that is so true for us as Christians. She said, “I’m coping fine, I have no trouble in handing this over to the Lord because there is nothing I can do about it anyway. It is lots of other smaller things that I often struggle to cope with.” She hit the nail on the head.
Of course there are times when also the big things are a struggle for God’s people. Job is a case in point. He wrestles with the whys and wherefores in chapter after chapter. And yet his faith comes shining through too: The Lord gave and the Lord took away, blessed be the name of the Lord.
I mention these things because we are at the end of another year and 2014 is looming up, just a few days away. Okay… they are just arbitrary conventions that help us mark time. However they also make us aware of the passing of time and we so often pause in these moments to reflect in the past and to plan for the future. But we as Christians can do that on the basis of that comforting Biblical teaching of Divine Providence.
This teaching is summed up so well in the words of that ancient confession: Providence is the almighty and ever-present power of God by which He upholds, as with his hand, heaven and earth and all creatures, and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and poverty – all things in fact, come to us not by chance but from His fatherly hand.
For some of us this past year has had some big events that we were powerless to do anything about. God had that in hand. But all the smaller events also happened under His Providence.
Next year will bring momentous events for some people that will confront them with their own frailty and inability. God will have that in hand. But next year’s numerous small events will also be in the hands of our loving heavenly Father.
This past year we made numerous little choices and most likely some big ones too. Next year (D.v.) we will again make numerous small choices – some will hardly seem significant – but we’ll also make some huge choices. The most important choice is always this: to walk by faith, believing that nothing comes to us by chance but from the hand of that loving heavenly Father who gave us His only Son so that whoever believes in Him may not perish but have everlasting life.
When we keep that in mind we can have a truly blessed new year.