Predictions for the Coming Year

    I can hear the cold winds of winter blowing outside my office window as I sit here typing.  The weatherman had predicted continuing artic-cold temperature and a slight dusting of snow.  We have received both.  Heavy snowfalls were being predicted but the prognostication was that the winds would blow the blizzard conditions further to the East Coast. The child in me was hopeful for the winter wonderland to drop in my back yard.  However, the adult in me fully comprehends all the hazards and inconveniences associated with the heavens dumping their snowy payload, so I was somewhat relieved when we missed the storm.

    The meteorologists use sophisticated and highly advanced technical equipment to make predictions, but no man can fully foresee the future.  We can make our most educated prognostication and do our best to prepare; but not until an event has passed, the moment has vanished, or the experience has become history can we truly know what shall be.  Then, we live with what time has providentially deemed our portion.

    This last year held surprises for the world in which we live.  The completing of  an election cycle resulted a new party sitting in the White House in 2017.  Politically, this past year has been tumultuous and divisive.  A stormy year!  Financial hardship due to unemployment numbers and low GDP seem to be on a turnaround, and the stock market is setting never-before reached records.  Storms averted!  One group touts those fiscal gains while their opponents point fingers and warn of the nation’s crippling debt.  Whose forecast will accurately foretell our future?  Hurricanes and floods on our coasts, threats from foreign nations who are arming their forces with nuclear capabilities, and the opioid epidemic among the youth:  these harsh and stormy events have dumped their payload of fear and pain on our land. In these and so many other ways, national history has been written.

    Last year unfolded unforeseen events in the world of my family.  One daughter’s family faced several medical crises.  One son made a big career change.  Another daughter’s loss of job required the family to move and forced them to adapt to a new home, a new city, and new schools.  My husband recovered from a life-threatening condition.  Three new nations opened to me for the advancement of my ministry.  Grandbaby number fifteen and a new foster child were added to the family.  In these and so many other ways, personal history has been written.

    Now, we face 2018.  What surprises are waiting for us; what storm clouds will gather to bring either a direct hit or a near miss; and what blessings will dawn on the horizon to deliver the joys for which all of us hope?  The answer to these and a myriad of other such questions is only found in the living of one day at a time.  Providence rests in the hand of One much greater and wiser than we. 

    Our portion is faith, hope, and love:  faith that God shall divinely impose His infinite wisdom into the affairs of our families and our nation; hope of a future in harmony with God’s eternal purposes and the deepest longings of the human soul; and love for God and our fellowman that empowers us to live in life’s surprises without skepticism or bitterness. 

    All our best assumptions about this coming year are like the predictions of the meteorologist – they are subject to the winds.  May we prepare to the best of our ability for that which we plan to be our future, and may we respond with courage and grace to that which the prevailing winds determine to actually be our future.  Let 2018 write the history of a people who faced adversity with courage, received promotion with humility, shared their plenty with the impoverished, and found eternal purpose in each day’s unexpected events. 

    May God Bless you and yours in 2018!

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