A lot happens in a year. 2016 was that year when TOO many things happened. And I don’t just mean in the Philippines, but in the bigger world in general. This year was just too chaotic and messy and violent, and it may sound very negative to say that I don’t look forward to next year, but I’m quite leaning towards that, at least in the direction this country and so many others is going. It feels as if evil is progressing and people are changing and adapting in terrible ways. The endless bloodbaths here and abroad, the spike in hate and people becoming more fearful and distrustful than loving and open, the rumors of war and signs of the times. I listen. My eyes are open and my ears hear these noises everywhere. You’d be blind and deaf not to. I keep faith that these things shall pass as they were foretold. And because I am unable to change what happens around me, and because in my heart I know that God is sovereign, my personal conviction is to be the one to adapt to these changes with eyes of faith locked in eternity. Christ-ward, heavenward –this is my vision and intention. Is there really any other way for a Christian? This is how I pray and hope to live out 2017. We are pilgrims in this world; strangers, not citizens. We are ghosts and shadows and our world is but a cheap copy of the heavenly one to come, like a landscape painting compared to the real place. Yet in this temporal home, we are called to shine like stars. With all that is happening in the world, how can we not all the more yearn heavenward?
How are you? How was your year? Where are you currently in your walk with God? How is your relationship with Christ? Have you learned and grown deeper in love with him? Did you get to know Christ deeper this year?
The thing about longing heavenward is that in the meantime, while we yearn to be with Christ, we must live, as C.S Lewis puts it, in “the shadowlands.” We must live our lives here. We must be present. This is our ‘current lot’. This is the place assigned to us. This is the place where we ought to grow and be sanctified and transformed. And this is our mission area for God. We are here for a specific purpose. And every year we must yearn for transformation and seek growth and not ever be content with staying just as we are. And I’m there. I’m at that place in my life where I want to fight being shallowly content, complacent, and simply going through the motions of everyday. As Paul said many thousand years ago, I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and to be more and more like Him.
Tall order with all that I am currently. There’s just a lot to change that I often feel exasperated about myself. But if God himself does not give up on me, why should I when the transformative power of the Holy Spirit is at work? I count so many blessings this year, yet the greatest I can think of year in and year out, is just the daily, sustaining and powerful grace that we receive from God. I am alive and breathing. I am thankful to be alive.
I want to love Christ as He so richly deserves. I want to know Him more, submit to Him more, obey Him more. I just want more of Him and less of this world, less of me. To put it frankly, I’m sick of this world (ha!) yet called to love it –love its people. So how can I if I am not rooted to the source of love?
Well, whatever happens next year (sorry, can’t divulge much about these things), I just want to stay grounded in God and trust that His ways are higher. And live purposefully, as if each day is the last. I know, cliche much? But really, whatever you have in store for 2017 for me, Lord, by your grace, I want to keep Christ-ward, heaven-ward.