Every year since 1995 Japan chooses a defining symbol for the year going by. This year Japan announced ‘disaster’ as its defining symbol for 2018. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-46539333)
The Japanese voted for ‘disaster’ recollecting the many natural disasters the nation had experienced this year (2018). This made me wonder how I would define 2018. The word for me was ‘regret’. I have been pondering over this word through many days in 2018. As I paged through regret after regret I couldn’t help see the fruits from this year too. Some of the fruits were First place for visual design in United Methodist Christian Communicators gathering; Art Exhibitions; Art workshops; continued global presence for art products.
All of these fruits remain and so do my regrets. All too often we like to shrug our negative thoughts (regrets in this case) and focus on ‘what is good’. But in order to experience true healing “Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.” –John Piper
It has been a tough year but I can’t help but thank God for His steadfast love and presence with me. Here is Vincent Van Gogh’s pray
“It is true there is an ebb and flow, but the sea remains the sea.”
You are the sea.
Although I experience many ups and downs in my emotions
and often feel great shifts and changes in my inner life,
you remain the same.
Your sameness is not the sameness of a rock,
but the sameness of a faithful lover.
Out of your love I came to life;
by your love I am sustained,
and to your love I am always called back.
There are days of sadness and days of joy;
there are feelings of guilt and feelings of gratitude;
there are moments of failure and moments of success;
but all of them are embraced by your unwavering love.
My only real temptation is to doubt in your love,
to think of myself as beyond the reach of your love,
to remove myself from the healing radiance of your love.
To do these things is to move into the darkness of despair.
O Lord, sea of love and goodness,
let me not fear too much the storms and winds of my daily life,
and let me know that there is ebb and flow,
but that the sea remains the sea.
This has indeed been my prayer through 2018 which really began at the end of 2017
Through all my circumstances and situations (every bit of life experience I have had) God has a plan to make it give life. Through all of it God desires to see me flourish as a fruitful tree.
So irrespective of bad choices and turns in my life (I’m not shaking off my responsibility to make good choices but ‘forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it’ -Maya Angelou) I can be fruitful. God is in the midst of us. So while one may be tempted to evaluate the year based on things that have happened let us not forget that the ‘sea remains the sea’. My defining symbol is not in the provision but my Provider. In order to figure out our defining symbol for this year let us take stock of events, emotions and situations both the good and the bad. Your defining symbol is not in the provision or the circumstance but is the Provider.
Even if you don’t see the road ahead hold on to your desire to please God your Creator. Embrace the life you are given to live and be present and faithful in things placed in your care. The Provider has a plan to prosper you and not to harm you.
Wishing all the joy as you welcome in 2019 amidst your current circumstances and situations