Dear Faith Family,

I realise you have probably heard someone talk about how absolutely “insert your choice of word year” this year has been…so I don’t want to carry on about it but would like to offer you 7 things, I have recently come across whilst reading Christianity Today:

1.    Choose Faith over Fear: 
There seems to be a lot of fear out there at the moment. Don’t panic; pray. Don’t worry; worship. There are 365 “fear nots” in the Bible, one for every day of the year. God is with you.

2.    Trust God:
Job 25:2 says that God is in control. If you fear God, the only one worth fearing yet not having to be feared, you don’t need to fear anything else. History is His story, and this year is but one paragraph in a long book of how he is with us, rescues us and is preparing an eternal home and party for us.

3.    Be Patient:
This year and anything/everything that is going on is not the end of the story. Your story, and the story of everybody listening will far outlast your life because you still have influence for good or for bad on other generations. And so, our story doesn’t end even with our death. And we have to realize that we’re the middle of a novel that we haven’t read. We know how it’s going to end in Revelation. We know the end of the story is that we win, but we don’t know all of the battles and the details in between the highs and the lows.

4.    Don’t Jump to Conclusions:
Just because something is repeated time and time again doesn’t make it true. Just because this year has included a lot of very tough situations does not mean the future now looks like this. Hold on to hope, not hype.

5.    Learn the Lessons:
Never waste a disappointment, never waste for failure, never waste a disaster, never waste a hurt. You’ve already gone through the pain. You might as well learn something from it. And God wants us literally to learn from everything. We can even learn from our sins on what not to do and even our failures. Deuteronomy 11:2 says, remember what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with him. Have you learned that he’s trustworthy? Have you learned that he can be depended on? Have you learned that he’s in control?

6.    Be Empathetic with Everybody:
There are as many types of and reasons for hurts and struggles as there are people. Our hurts might not look like some else’s and nor does theirs look like ours, but it hurts all the same. Empathy does not mean discount your own hurts, it simply means to also recognises someone else’s without turning it into comparison. Empathy, like my grandma said, simply means “use your ears more than your mouth”. Listen also, don’t just speak.

7.    Look for Things to be Grateful for:
Gratitude is always the right attitude. It is the healthiest emotion, doctors say, and it is God’s will. 1 Thessalonians 5: 18 reads “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you.” You want to know what God’s will for you is after this pandemic? It’s to give thanks in all circumstances. Now, the key is the word is “in.” He doesn’t say “for.” You don’t give thanks for COVID; you don’t give thanks for a difficult circumstance. That would be masochism. It does say “in” everything, give thanks. And you can say, God, I thank you for the grace that you’ve shown me. I thank you for the plan that you have for my life. I thank you for the changes that you’re making in me. Those are the eternals that are not going to change. That’s why we look not at the things that we see, but at the things that we don’t see, because the things we see are temporary, the things that we don’t see are eternal.

I hope this serves you well as this year draws to an end. I hope you will experience the closeness of Christ. I hope, because of this, you will always have hope.

In His service,
Pastor Roelof

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