Remember New Year’s Eve twelve months ago. Amid celebrations and countdowns, many of us went into 2014 believing, hoping, and fully expecting that it would be our best year yet. All of out troubles would disappear, our problems would be miraculously resolved, and all that we touched would turn gold. Out with the old, in with the new! 2014 would be the year we conquered.
Now, looking back on the past 365 days, maybe a lot of us would say that 2014 didn’t turn out the way we dreamt it would. Many of our prayers are still unanswered. We’ve experienced broken friendships and bad relationships. Some of us have had loved ones to die. Perhaps the problems we had at the beginning of the year have not disappeared, but doubled.
And it’s not just our lives that haven’t gone as planned; 2014 has been a tough year for the world.
In January, ISIS started taking control of Iraq, capturing and killing those who did not agree with them and forcing thousands of families to flee their homes.
In February, protests in Ukraine came to a violent head.
In March, 28 people were killed in a knife attack in China, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared, and 43 people perished from a mudslide near Oso, Washington.
In April, nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram and nearly 300 high school students died when a ferry capsized in South Korea.
In May, seven people lost their lives during a killing spree on UC Santa Barbara.
In June, ISIS took control of more territory in Iraq.
In July, Super Typhoon Rammasun killed over 100 people in Asia, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine, and Eric Garner was choked to death.
In August, Ebola caused global hysteria, Michael Brown’s death led to Ferguson unrest, and ISIS beheaded James Foley.
In September, ISIS beheaded Steven Sotloff and David Haines.
In October, ISIS beheaded Alan Henning.
In November, ISIS beheaded Peter Kassing.
In December, nearly 150 people were killed in a school attack in Pakistan, two NYPD officers were murdered, and Air Asia Flight 8501 crashed into the sea.
The world lost Maya Angelou, Oscar de la Renta, Shirley Temple, Robin Williams, and countless others whose names weren’t “big” enough to make it in the news.
Looking back, it’s easy to say that 2014 has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for us all. We’re not all dashing across the end of year finish line. Some of us are stumbling over. But, hey, that’s okay. We made it and now we’re standing on the brink of another New Year.
We might be tempted to give up on ourselves, on others, on our hopes, dreams, and plans for the future. We might not be looking forward to the New Year with much gusto because we know how quickly the “new” turns old. When faced with adversity, it is easier to quit than it is to press on. But pressing on is exactly what we must do. We’ve all come much too far in life to give up now. We have to keep on keeping on.
In the words of Mary Richards, we are on a very long journey. The main thing we must do is keep the faith, endure, help each other when we stumble or tire, weep, and press on.
No one knows what 2015 holds, but we do know Who holds 2015. When obstacles arise, press on. When you fail at something, press on. When someone hurts you, cry; but press on. When you fall, press on. When you succeed, press on.
Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On!’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
As we close this year and start a new one, remember Philippians 3:12-14: “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Now is the time to forget the things of the past. Reach for the things that lie ahead of you.
2015 awaits! With grace and peace, make it a good one.