The new year has begun with a vengeance weather-wise.  The extreme cold temperatures remind us how blessed we are to have the means to stay warm inside and even sufficient clothing to keep us protected from the elements when we have to venture outside. The great certainty of life is that it is uncertain; we do not always know what we will face and have to deal with from day to day, even from moment to moment.

I’ve always liked the saying, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future.”  I find great comfort in the truth of that thought.  That is, if I truly believe it and if I truly know the One who holds the future – God.

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).  “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matt. 7:10).  “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Harsh weather is but one of the difficult aspects of life on earth.  In fact, for most of us, it is one of the lesser difficulties. Life has a way of hitting us hard when we least expect it, when we are not well prepared to deal with it and when we are most vulnerable. So often, it does “leave a mark.”  Not always on our outer bodies (although sometimes it does), but always on our inner being. 

We really have no choice. Each of us has to deal with our own life.  It’s not a question of if we are going to be knocked off our feet, but rather are we going to stay down or get up and keep moving forward.  There are days, when it seems that I just can’t take it anymore, or there is nothing I can do about the suffering, the issues, or the trials of life.  I’m tired, I am weak, I am worn.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Cor. 4:7-10).

Paul begged God to relieve him of the “thorn in the flesh” with which he suffered.  God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  Paul then affirms, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

May God’s grace help us all to be strong in our weaknesses like Paul.  Bring it on 2018!