I started this new year with mixed emotions: optimistic, yet cautious. The past few years have had some bad surprises. Are more to come?
The whole world was shaken by the pandemic that started early in 2020, when everyone’s lives were suddenly and drastically changed: Families lost jobs and loved ones, and adjusted to work and school at home. Division and fear caused loneliness and relationship problems. Depression and divorce rates soared.
I don’t remember a time when there was so much misinformation. The Father of Lies sure has been busy, and trying to discern truth these days is exhausting! Evil seems more emboldened, too. Things that used to be done in secret are now in the open, on prime time tv and social media. What tumultuous times these are!
My own little world was rocked when my father suddenly passed away at the end of September. I had spoken to him on the phone just the day before because we had plans to go see my parents. But when he told me that he wasn’t feeling good, we altered our travel plans to wait until he was feeling better.
Early the next morning, my husband and I set out on the 14-hour journey to our Texas home, which only slightly detoured from the route we would have taken to my parents’ house. About two hours into it, my mother called, saying that Scott and I should go ahead and come to their house. When I asked why, she started crying and said that my father had just passed away.
God prepared me for my father’s death. Just five days before he passed, I dreamed about him; a medley of comforting memories from my childhood. I posted about it on Facebook and it makes me tearfully smile to see that Dad “liked” it. (In the screenshot below, read the Update second.)
The next night I had another dream that made me feel like I was going to lose him soon. I told my husband about the dreams and that they felt like a premonition. I was glad that we already had plans to see my parents at the end of the week.
Then a few days later, this passage from 1 Thessalonians about death and grieving “just happened” to be in my daily reading.
It was as if God had put His arm around me and gently prepared me.
The silver lining of these past few years is that I don’t think my faith has ever been stronger, or my relationship with God closer.
I’m not one to make resolutions, or choose a word for the year, but if I were, maybe my word would be “rooted,” and my resolution would be to remember who I am – a child of God. Evil has always been a part of our world and always will be, but ultimately my Heavenly Father is in control. Just as He was with me in my father’s death, He’ll be with me with everything else.
I don’t know what this year will bring, but my morning Bible readings help prepare me for whatever comes. Like the towering oaks around our Missouri home whose roots reach deep into the rock, I want my own roots to grow deeper into God’s Word.