When Charles Dickens penned “A Tale of Two Cities” and included the famous “It was the worst of times, it was the best of times” line, I am sure he had no idea he’d be describing my 2010 experience.
Last year, was filled with amazing ‘highs’ and seemingly right after those moments, devastating ‘lows.’ And I’m sure I’m not alone.
As a matter of fact, before the New Year I was chatting with a colleague about how complex 2010 was for me. She said “2010 did a number on me too. I’m going to be crawling into 2011.”
Wait. Before you think this is a “whoa is me” moment, it’s actually just the opposite. It’s actually a moment of celebration. Because whether you walked, ran, skipped or — like me and my colleague — crawled into the New Year, the important thing is that you made it!
I love how Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 4:8–9 (NKJV): “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
You may have crawled into 2011, but you are here! And that means that God still has great things in store for you! There’s just one catch.
If you really want to experience God’s blessings this year…or any year to follow…you must do one thing. It’s quite simple. Yet extremely difficult to do.
You must decide, once and for all, that you will not live your life simply by what you see.
I know. We’ve heard it before. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). But most of us, if we are honest, are doing just the opposite. In 2010 I learned a pretty impactful “God-lesson.” Here it is: When it comes to seeing things through the lens of my ‘natural’ sight, I have 20-20 vision. But when it comes to seeing things through the lens of my faith, I am often blind.
Wow. Seeing it in print is even more convicting. But that is why I experienced such a “Charles Dickens – Worst of times, best of times” year. It all boiled down to which lens I chose to look through.
In Matthew 14, the Disciples were experiencing “A Tale of Two Cities” in their own lives. One moment they are surrounded by a multitude of people with nothing to eat, and the next moment Jesus feeds them all. Then the Disciples are in a boat being tossed by waves and the next moment Jesus is walking towards them on water. Finally, Peter is walking on water, begins to sink and Jesus is right there to save him. Highs and lows. Worst of times, best of times.
But if you read Matthew 14:13-33 carefully, you’ll see that each of the Disciples’ challenging moments boiled down to what they saw through the lens of their natural sight and not what they saw through the lens of their faith.
The lens of their faith was so clouded that they even thought Jesus was a ghost! (Matthew 14:26). Come on…can’t you admit that you’ve been there too? The very thing you thought was out to destroy you, was actually the very thing God sent to save you. Your lens simply needed to be changed.
In this New Year…filled with great abundance, opportunity and grace, I challenge you to grab hold of the “God-Lesson” and choose your 2011 lens carefully. Maybe this is your year to “get out of the boat”. I hope to see you on the water…