I have always been different from everyone around me, so it should come as no surprise that I celebrate New Year’s Eve differently too.  I really don’t give much thought to celebrating it.  Sure, I may turn on the TV and look at other people celebrating, but it doesn’t really move me.

I don’t know where I got the idea, but for at least the last dozen years I have had my own tradition.  I spend New Year’s Eve alone with God, and I ponder which spiritual attribute I lack the most–the one that would give me a closer walk with God, in the year(s) ahead, if I had it.  Then, I request it of God.

The most memorable was the year that I asked Him for faith.  I had already heard that one shouldn’t ask for faith because it would bring many trials.  But, that’s what I felt led to ask for, and I’m glad I didn’t let fear stop me.

When the spring semester ended, I was surprised to learn that I would have no financial aid for the summer . . . and my lease would end at the same time!  As a single parent of three kids, this was not a good situation to have looming on the horizon!

After much prayer, I decided that camping in the woods all summer was one option.  But, that a better option would be to buy a camper shell for my pickup truck, store our things somewhere, and travel the USA for the summer.  I realized we had what might be a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’!

That summer is one that none of us has ever forgotten!  A whole summer of ‘quality time’ together really bonded us deeply.  We had a couple of destinations in mind–relatives that we could visit, but mostly we had ‘time to kill’!  (I find that almost impossible to imagine these days!)

For $100 we bought a family pass to the National Parks, and we lived on $600 a month.  Every day I got behind the wheel and asked God to guide me.  I would set a jar of canned food on the dashboard and head east, driving and praying.

By midday we had a warm ‘meal’.  We ate very simply and very rarely paid to stay at a campground or eat at a restaurant.  We trusted God to show us a safe place to park each night, and prayed we could sleep unbothered.

We soaked in the beauty of God’s creation and rested–what a blessed thing that was!  We learned that California had a nearly magical forest of giant trees;  that in Michigan, blueberries grew on the ground; and that the mosquitos in Minnesota were something to be reckoned with!!  We fell asleep in the woods at dusk, serenaded by the most beautiful birdsong I had ever heard.

That summer, I learned that God can take a bad situation and turn it completely around; that He can be trusted to watch over me, even while I’m asleep; that He is always with me, even when I have no idea where I am; that some of His best gifts are free; and that a glimpse of blue sky, the song of a bird, or a gentle breeze can help me reconnect with Him when I feel alone and afraid.

In the days ahead, as the works of man grow more depraved and ugly, and as evil increases around us–remember to look up sometimes.  Let God’s creation remind you of who is eternal and who is really in charge.  Remember that the trials and tribulations that lie ahead are only temporary.  Life on earth has never been easy.  Although things will get a lot worse–it won’t last much longer!!  Ten years from now, it may all be behind us.

We have much to look forward to.  We will have a thousand years to live on earth, in peace and equity, with Jesus Himself in authority.  How I yearn for His truth and justice to be established upon the Earth; for righteousness to be the standard, and the law to be upheld; for things to finally be fair; for a chance to rest and walk with Him; for a time when evil is put to flight and goodness can prevail.

Last year was difficult.  Not the circumstances of my life, but the evil around us grinding on me, wearing me down.  I imagine that a year from now, 2009 will seem like ‘a piece of cake’ as evil continues to increase.  I’ve become polluted by our culture, taking on bad attitudes and values, picked up from TV and movies.  Anger has taken root inside me, and hatred has started to grow, as I have seen America stolen and our rights stripped away.

Learning that it is all part of God’s judgment has helped me put it in perspective.  I have long known America was provoking His judgment.  Realizing that the destruction of America that is now taking place is God’s will–because of our sin–my anger at the people involved diminishes.

Instead I cry bitter tears of regret.  We had it all, but knew it not!  We had such a priceless gift from God, but we threw it away.  We squandered our freedom, to indulge our lusts.  Oh how foolish we were!! America is forever lost.  We can never go back.

The anger and attitudes I have adopted have hardened my heart and made me more callous towards the pain and suffering of others.  Tonight, I need to repent of my anger, and my attitudes, and move beyond them.  I think what I need to ask for this year, is compassion.  Someone’s life may depend on it.

He Sent A Rainbow Made Of Corn

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