We’ve stepped lightly into this new year. All of us.
We crept into it, slowly waiting for the new dawn to arise and the heartache of the last two years to fall off us like scales. Perhaps we earnestly hoped that they would, that we would awake from a bad dream and the reality of what we have walked through would cease to exist. But it does. Counting down the clock and ushering in a new year doesn’t change much at all. Like all the consistencies of our lives, we have carried the ‘hard’ into 2022.
Many of us wouldn’t have celebrated, or at least not in the way we may have in the past. There is also a sweet understanding amongst us all – because the last two years have not simply been our own pain, it has been shared amongst us. Yes, we have all faced our own hardships and tragedies, some more than others. But the overarching heartache of Covid-19 has left none of us untouched.
Parents that have been split apart, grandbabies having birthdays without meeting their family, loved ones leaving us, some only just staying behind. Marriages stretched, relationships broken and homes left with an empty seat. And then of course the unexplainable tragedies, the unfair ‘this-should-not-have-happened‘ title that has been pinned to some of our heartaches over this season.
We have to wade through so much brokenness, and for many, the burden is still so so heavy. I can only believe that for thousands of people, the hope for a better 2022 is barely a flicker of light right now. It is a flame that with the gentlest of whispers from the devil will extinguish.
Not only are we broken.
But we are hurting.
There is one consistency that I will cling to, through it all.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrew 13:8)
Last week I was reading in Luke 13, and found a passage that really struck me. The people come to Jesus distraught, broken. Someone had brutally executed Galileans, an unexpected and unwarranted event. A tragedy in its own rights. Jesus speaks a truth that can so often be misunderstood, “Do you think that this happened to them because they were more sinful than other people from Galilee? No! I can guarantee you that they weren’t.“
The people that suffered were not being punished. This was not an act of God that fell upon them for their devious ways. The world is ruptured with sin, sickly seeping the lies and deceit of the devil that we so quickly cling to as a lifeboat.
Your pain is not a punishment from God.
Your loss is not a punishment from God.
Your tragedy is not a punishment from God.
Plagues will come.
Tragedy will happen.
We are not exempt from it.
Heartache on earth has nothing to do with being punished for who we are and what we have done. (Luke 13:4b)
And having a place in heaven is not a result of anything we have done. (Ephesians 2:9)
We cannot achieve it. (Romans 11:16)
We cannot attain it. (Ephesians 1:7)
But we are given it by a good Father in heaven. (Romans 10:13)
I pray that love may be the ground into which you sink your roots and on which you have your foundation. This way, with all of God’s people, you will be able to understand how wide, long, high and deep His love is. (Ephesians 3:17b-18)