2018: Annus Horribilis?
For several people I know, 2018 was a rough year. An especially rough year. From job loss to disease to the death of loved ones, it has been gut wrenching to see people go through hard times.
This year had its own ups and downs for me, bringing to mind the phrase made popular by Queen Elizabeth II of England, whose own struggles led her to dub 1992 “annus horribilis,” the Latin term for “horrible year.”
When a hard year hits, it’s only natural to think, “Please bring on the New Year!” in hopes of better times. I think the same way.
Yet beyond this, I recently have come across three truths that have helped me, and may help you, through bad years.
Trust the Lord. One of my favorite verses is Prov. 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” When hard times hit, don’t try to make sense of it all. Try to trust Him more, and pray more in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Count your blessings. I love the hymn that encourages us to count our blessings and “name them one by one.” When we complain, we often make lists of all that went wrong. Why not turn that on its head, and list blessings from the Lord one by one? God can use this to lift your spirit.
Never give up. In Christian terms, we call this perseverance (Col. 1:11-12). Russell Moore reminded me recently through his book, “The Storm-Tossed Family,” that the popular trope, “You are either just coming out of a storm, you are currently in one, or you’re about to be in one,” is not entirely accurate. It’s probably more accurate to say that in life, we are always in a storm of some size in life, and it’s only God who will get us through.
Whether 2018 was a great year or horrible year for you, I hope these simple truths can help you as much as they have me in 2019… and beyond.