Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Happy New Year?

By: L.A. Kohl
January 8, 2007
(published in the Jan. 17, 2007 edition of "The Bullseye")

You see it plastered on everything from paper plates to newspaper headlines during this time of year; that little phrase “Happy New Year." But as our family is struggling with some discouraging news at the beginning of our new year, it’s made me stop and think twice; there are no guarantees, are there? Wouldn’t it be nice if saying “Happy New Year” could make it a fact, a done deal…and not just wishful thinking?

Don’t get me wrong – life is good for our immediate complaints. It’s what is happening in our extended family’s…no, more than extended family…extremely close friend’s lives that is so disheartening.

Childhood cancer. The Hallsville community dealt with it over this past year, with little seven year old Timothy Grant. There is not anything remotely “happy” about that, is there? Cancer is an ugly thing, no matter what your age, but childhood cancer just seems the most utterly unfair and despicable of them all.

And thus, as a new year begins, with all of its unknowns and uncertainties…my mind has been full of questions – those “why” kind of questions that everyone asks when life deals you a rotten blow. Why would my daughter’s best friend have to suffer like this? Why, after losing her biological mother to cancer – does this fifteen year old have to suffer through it herself? Why does this family, who has already gone thru so much pain and suffering in their short lifetime – have to go through another struggle like this? It makes a person, even a person with a strong faith, want to cry out and say, “What is going on here, God????”

And that’s the struggle, isn’t it? Not understanding what is going on…wanting to believe that God knows best, and yet not seeing how anything even remotely resembling “best” is taking place. From my little, extremely limited and short viewpoint of life, all I can see right now is “unfair."

In very simplified terms, it’s like when I, as a parent, deny one of my children of something that they think they really want. Every parent has heard their child cry out, “But that’s not fair!” And likewise, God must hear it a million times a day, from His children all over the world, “That’s not fair, God!”
And sometimes, realizing that our small child will never comprehend, no matter how hard we try to explain it, a wise parent’s only explanation is, “Honey, life is not always fair.”

I think at times like this, God is like that…He wants to take us by the hand, and say, “I wish I could fully explain all of the whys and why nots…all of the eternal perspectives that I’m looking at here…but you simply cannot understand all of that right now. You’re just going to have to trust Me on this one, and realize that I never promised you life would be fair.”

And so we try – we try to believe that someday, in eternity, we’ll be able to look back on this short little journey that we called life and say, “Oh, so THAT’S why that happened!”

Until then, we just have to begin each year with our simple little “Happy New Year," and hope and pray for the best. I’ve decided, however, that this year, more than anything else, I want it to be a “Miraculous New Year” for a dear, brave, fifteen year old girl and her very special and supportive family. Here’s to you, Amanda – may this be the most miraculous year of your life!

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