April 19th, 2018

By the Way: Look back at 2017 so you can look forward to 2018 and beyond

By Medicine Hat News on January 2, 2018.

Does New Year’s Eve make you reflective? Does it make you think over the years that have passed and wonder where you have come from and where you are going?

At New Year’s we look back as well as forward. It is good for us to look back once in a while and review what has happened. We look at those things that have happened to us as well as those things that we have made happen. Wisdom is gained from looking back. Wisdom is needed to look forward.

When I look back on the experiences of this community from this past year I can’t help thinking about the fires. There were so many in our surrounding communities that faced the terror of the prairie grass fire. Fearing for your life makes you think thoughts that you would not ordinarily think. I hear people say things like … “it was just stuff…we are thankful to have our lives.” Yet one firefighter does not have his life and no one can forget the cattle in the fields or the blackened prairie. These losses have a way of changing us.

Even though you can probably think of many blessings from this past year, the fires have reminded us of our vulnerability. Life is fragile. The grasslands are fragile. The plants and animals that we depend on for our sustenance are fragile. We are fragile. And that makes us look up. When we are aware of these things God has a chance to speak into our lives, remind us that we need Him and that He is there, standing beside us in the midst of it all.

Hear these lyrics, written to the tune of Auld Lang Syne by the band Rend Collective…
“From mountain top to valley low
Through laughter and through tears
Surely the goodness of my God
Will follow all the years”

God is on the mountain top, laughing and enjoying life with us. God is also in the valley low, struggling and weeping with us. And God will be there in the future, longing for us to look into his face and find hope.

As we move from Christmas into the new year, remember that Almighty God loves us so much that he entered our broken world as a baby to bring us healing and hope. May you look forward to the year ahead with the hope and the love of Christ.

Happy New Year!

Lila de Waal is diaconal minister at Victory Lutheran Church.

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