Birth. Death. Marriage. Divorce. Healing. Illness. New job. Job loss. Revival. Atrophy.
A lot can happen in a year. Think back to this time last year. With the new year approaching, what were your hopes for 2015? Did they come true? Some of them probably did. Then there were undoubtedly a few things you never saw coming.
The future is uncertain, but there's one thing you can always count on: things change. Life happens in seasons, and change is the only constant! Up and down. High and low. Joy and pain. King Solomon, the wisest man ever, describes the ebb and flow of life this way:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
As another year comes to its end, take a moment to reflect on how things have changed--how you've changed. Maybe you're in between seasons right now. Good or bad, maybe you're right in the middle of one. No matter what season God has you in at the moment, know this: it won't last forever. So with the knowledge that good and bad things will happen in the next 365 days, how can we approach the new year with joy and anticipation? Is there a secret to contentment with whatever comes in 2016?
The apostle Paul's answer--and our answer--is Christ! More than just a pithy verse for athletes, Philippians 4.13 reminds us that we can do all things through Christ, who gives us strength. But what things? What exactly is Paul referring to? Life's seasons!
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4.11-13
As 2016 approaches, resolve with the apostle Paul that you can do all things--you can endure every season you find yourself in--because Christ will give you strength!