Faith, Reflection

Rise Up for 2011

If I shared all of my news for 2010, you probably wouldn’t make it through the first two sentences. In all honesty, this has been one of the toughest years for my family. But, in spite of all the trials, I refuse to look back and feel remorse. I have to choose joy and move forward. I must rise up for 2011. My small world doesn’t matter to the big world. But, I can make a difference in my small world, which will hopefully impact the big world.

When I think about of all of the big things that happened in the world during 2010, like the big earthquake in Haiti, or the flooding in Pakistan, or even the volcano eruption in Iceland, my little world doesn’t seem so bad. I just finished a book that is written about the topic of “Why would a loving God…?” which basically interprets the message about pain and suffering and the seeming absence of a loving God. In the view of a person who does not understand, my words may seem harsh and cold. But, from my perspective, it’s all about your worldview. I will expand on what I believe and why, if you are willing to listen with an open mind and heart.

To view pain and suffering in the context of your own little world, one may say that there could not be a loving God since he wouldn’t allow such bad things to happen. Oh really? Says who? Sure, miracles have happened before, and they still happen. Some people experience tragedy and then a sweet miracle saves them. Other people suffer in a different way, and they end up dying. But, guess what? We are not promised an easy life. Some people may seem to have an easier time than others, but there are no guarantees of perfect peace. Not on this planet.

Let me make one fact clear: we are all going to die one day. Our bodies cannot last forever. As much as there are multitudes of technology and advances that can extend a human life, eventually we will wear out. Sorry about the frankness of the matter, but it’s true. We need to face up to that fact and realize that our time on earth is limited. And yes, a loving God does know about that fact. Whether you believe in him or not, that’s the truth. We cannot live forever on planet earth, and there is a simple reason why. Are you still with me?

So, if you have read this far, you must not be too mad at my words. Or, maybe you’re trying to figure out what I’m going to say next. Well, my heart does break for all of the people in the world who are suffering in one form or another. Whether or not they celebrate the coming New Year is not relevant in comparison to the fact if they live to see the next day. I wish I could help those who are hungry, those who need clean water, those who need shelter, and those who need clothes. We do live in a fallen world, with pain and suffering all around us.

So, my challenge for 2011 is to rise up and encourage others to look beyond their little “world” and see that there are so many people who could a smile, a glass of water, or even a meal. See if you can find someone who can use the clothes you no longer wear, or try and give up a few pairs of shoes to a homeless shelter. Reach out and make the world better. Yeah, I know it’s easier said than done. But, you will feel better after you have blessed someone with your possessions. Many people in developing countries live on less than $1 per day. I cannot imagine how they live. But, I’d do just about anything to help a needy child or parent to feel like they matter.

In closing, I want to wish all of my family and friends the best for 2011. I know there will be challenges, and I know there will be times of blessings. Rise up each day and do your best. You are only given one day. Remember to pray for those who are suffering. Use your talents and skills to improve the lives you touch. A loving God would want you to do that… you are His arms and feet. It’s up to you. Will you rise up with me and make 2011 better than 2010?

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