Many people choose a word of the year, and a verse of the year. In 2013 I chose the verse, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30 ESV As noble as it sounds, my first clue should have been that it was spoken by John the Baptist, who lost his life by beheading.
I soon learned it was the beginning of my health woes. Within two weeks, God tested the sincerity of my words. I developed trigeminal neuralgia, missed seven months of work that year, and learned what it was like to be set aside. Yet in that same year, He gave me strength to speak at two Women’s retreats and several ladies’ meetings. He increased while I decreased.
I don’t think I chose one last year. Maybe I was scared off. J I also was still dealing with many health issues, like the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and the emotional fallout of leaving my church after thirty years. I was still decreasing.
This year, I thought I’d choose a word for the year. It’s usually a word to set the tone for the New Year, like Trust or Adventure or Faith. At first I was going to choose Coping, as I would need to learn more about my illness and how to cope with a new normal.
But it seemed kind of negative and discouraging, as if I would trudge through the year, moving from one crisis to the next. But how does a Christian cope with adversity in life compared with those who are not Christians? Is it not hope? Paul says we do not sorrow as those who have no hope.
The book of Psalms is encouraging to the sufferer. Even if David begins with crying out to God in frustration or fear or anxiety, he usually ends the Psalm with hopefulness and praise to God. He tells himself, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:11 ESV
So I changed my word from COPING, to a motto, of COPE WITH HOPE.
The only thing that helps me to deal with the prospect of living the rest of my life with a chronic illness that affects all systems in my body and all aspects of my life in one way or another 24 hours a day, is to look forward to the day when my suffering will be over. There is no Fibromyalgia, or grief or suffering or pain in heaven.
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4 ESV
So although I can’t promise I will not complain, (to God, if not to the world through social media), I do promise to stop and remind myself that this is not the end of the story. God will be glorified even through my suffering.
So in addition to my motto of the year, I am choosing a verse to remind myself of this truth.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 ESV
How about you? Do you have a word or verse for the upcoming year?