It is the first month of 2017. So Happy New Year is still in order.
Whilst, I was caught up with church planting in December last year, I tried to think what my first post for 2017 should be about. There was a lot I wanted to write down; though there was barely time to punch key pads without being distracted, I like to think it was more to procrastination, I did not write this earlier. Now that my drafts box is full, I am left with either to delete and start clean or see which is worth sharing.
As the year drew to an end and the new one began, I one-two-many personal testaments of what kind of year 2016 was. This reminded me of the beginning of the year, when you read such decrees and proclamations as ” My year of divine favour”, “My of fulfilment”, “My year of next level promotion” just to name a few. So when at the end of the year, and I read things like, “2016 was filled with disappointments”, “thank God 2016 has come and gone”, and many of such comments I can not remember now that expressed emotions as pain, hurt, disappointments, tears and heart break, etc I understood them because I also had my fair share of delays and disappointments. I’m sure everybody has something to say about 2016 being the year of drama. I particularly remember one post from a distant friend where she said “I got hurt the most in 2016”. I was tempted to ask if this statement had to do with her career goals or relationship goals?
I learnt a lot in 2016. It was a year of learning and growing in new dimensions for me. I was stretched in ways I never saw myself doing on my own, and I’m happy I was not allowed to have my way times I insisted to. I largely spent more time by myself with myself. Probably, went out on a date-kind-of-night not more than three times. Hence, as I read through all of those condolence messages and epitaph worthy quotes for 2016 I could not but ask, what did you learn from all these experiences you people had? From the comments I read only few people pointed out what they learnt from their experiences. It was like these folks were interested in burying 2016 they forgot to take the hand over notes for 2017.
I believe that we must take away something from our experiences; it must in a way break us, as well as mould. Our experiences must kick start dead cells in us or purge our excesses.
Apostle Paul said in Romans 5:3-5
we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulations worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; And Hope makes not ashamed;
We are not allowed to think, believe or expect God would take us through a journey and there would be no lessons. With God there is always purpose.
Like Ravi Zacharias shares with us in His podcast, ‘Lessons from the Road less travelled’, he says “God always takes us through different experiences – trials and tribulations for learning some of life’s most important lessons that would be important for building a strong life”.
He reminds us of a scene in the book of Deuteronomy as aanalogy.
Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. 8:2 NLT
In this Bible verse, Moses reminds the children of Israel how God took them through the wilderness for forty years, a journey that could have been completed in 14 days or less.
That process, as heart rendering, ego humbling, character proving, and faith trying as it might have been had a purpose. If the children of Israel were to get it right with God they had to go through the Long road. There is place we have to be, a time in our life that must come to pass, a person we must become and to get through or attain this height the preparation process is important. What Ravi calls the Long road in some Christian circles is referred to as the wilderness experience.
So, if you want to forget all of 2016, I suggest you don’t forget the lessons you learnt. And if it happens you already left the lessons and took the humour, you probably should do some retrospective pan and see what else is there to glean from last year’s experience. Because your hopes for 2017 will need the foundational lessons of 2016. And Paul, in Romans 5:5 concludes “hope maketh not ashamed (KJV).” Another version renders it, “hope does not disappoint (NIV).”
Happy New Year!
francis Oluwaseun IGE
PS: I figured this is one of the few that should be shared.
This post is a spin off of, and or was inspired by Ravi Zacharias’ Just a Thought serial podcast titled “Lessons from the road less travelled”.
Hopefully, this is the first of the many spin offs that would come from the Just A Thought serial podcasts. You can listen to to other podcasts on the RZIM website.