Difficult. Tough. Stressful. Complicated. Disappointing.

Was 2017 a hard year? I’ve seen a lot of social media posts where people have described the past year as stressful and painful and expressed great hope that 2018 will be better.

David, the great king of ancient Israel, experienced severe times in his life and in Psalm 69 he left us a record of his plea for help.  He writes (my paraphrase), “God help me! I’m about to go under; the tide is working against me and death by drowning in my own troubles is an almost certainty. My voice is hoarse and almost gone from calling for help and I’m so tired I can’t keep my eyes open. God, with you I can’t deny the fact that most of these troubles are the consequences of my foolishness, the result of selfishness, pride, lust, and anger. You know all about me. There’re no secrets with You.”

And then David shifts the narrative.

“God, may all the people around me – family, friends, neighbors – who are following You be protected from my foolishness. Don’t let them be discouraged or disgraced as they seek to live in Your presence.” (My paraphrase.)

That’s it. That’s what my focus needs to be for 2018.

Yes, there will be trouble and hardship, difficulties and pain; but there will also be hope and joy, fulfillment, goodness, abundance, and love!

I don’t want the people around me to be detoured in following Jesus because of me. Instead I pray they will be encouraged because I am following Jesus – no matter the circumstances, emotions, or frustrations. Let’s follow Jesus better.

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