However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24 (NIV)
Last day of 2013. While there were many fun times, lots of laughter and interesting travel, 2013 has not been the year I thought it would be. Odd medical issues, time in the MRI machine, unexpected diagnosises have characterized the year. There have been detours, hardships and some tears we did not predict. We went to two funerals in one weekend. We have been driven to our knees. At points, all we could pray was “HELP!” We are not the only ones who had a difficult year. Our friends have suffered, too. Whether the cause is the economy, wayward children or health, we are all tempted to say, “Good Riddance” to 2013. Yet, I hesitate to do that. To kiss the old year good by (or kiss it off), forget about the past and gleefully look to brand new 2014 as a fresh start seems wasteful. If I truly believe God’s Promise found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” then, doesn’t 2013 have value? Maybe even more value than a year that was all good? I believe that the years that drive us to our knees teach us more than the years that we go happily through life complacent and at ease. When we are desperate for a Word from God, our faith is built and we grow stronger. I started 2013 reading a book by Mark Batterson called “The Circle Maker.” I am finishing it reading another of his books called, “All In.” Today, I read, “Going all out for God is not just about getting where God wants you to go. It’s about who you become in the process. And it’s not about how quickly you get there. It’s about how far you go.” It made me think of the trip we took to Brevard last August. The house where we stayed is probably as close to the Garden of Eden as I will be in my lifetime. The waterfall, cozy little cabin, tall swaying trees and green grass were comforting, restful and perfect. But, to get there, we had to drive twelve hours through three states along a boring Interstate lined with fast food restaurants and billboards. It was not a beautiful road or journey. It would have been tempting to ignore the trip as an inconvenience between where I was and where I wanted to be. But, road trips have a way of bringing husband and I closer together. Stuck in the car for hours, we talk about things that we don’t normally have time to talk about. We sing along with the radio and read books aloud. The destination was lovely, but the process of getting there equally as important. So, as the clock ticks away this evening, I will look back on what the year brought with no regrets. Thank you 2013. I learned a lot. Hello 2014. Let the race begin.