Posted by: Brad Stanford | January 5, 2016

Oh What We’ve Learned

“Meet the new Boss. Same as the old Boss.” – The Who

Welcome to 2016. There will be scientific breakthroughs, and human tragedies. There will be new beginnings, and old endings. In short, this year will be like all the others.

While that may sound depressing, think about it: if it was not this way, if you had no idea what human existence was going to be like tomorrow or the next day or the day after, how would you do anything? If it was safe outside yesterday, but maybe not today, would you venture out?

The great discernment factor for a year is being able to determine what is backdrop, and what is not. In a production, the backdrop is both the environment and the situation that a scene is set against. There can be a flurry of activity going on in the background, but the action in the foreground is what draws our attention.

In my small prayer group, we received a word for us this year: “In spite of”. That’s the theme for 2016. The encouragement was for us to progress in our assignments and missions in faith without fear of what’s going on around us. The story at the end of the year will be, “In spite of all those factors, they succeeded.”

Do not confuse backdrop for the main storyline in your life. Your backdrop does not define you. It’s what you manage to do regardless of it that makes a story that’s worthy of telling for generations.

We’ve been here for six years now. We left our city ways behind and fully embraced being countrified. We live in an old house that always needs attention. We have chickens and cats. We enjoy days of fresh air, and days of dairy air (all phonetic puns aside). There are days where we high-five each other, and there are days where getting back into bed and starting over tomorrow is simply the best of all the bad alternatives.

But what we have learned! The most important thing is that God is truly faithful through all types of times. He said there would be trouble in this world, and there most certainly has been. He said there would be great joy, and we’ve had that as well. He’s promised to keep us going on His mission, and that has been true, too.

We’ve also learned not to stop planting, watering, fertilizing, and sowing in all areas of life. And that praying for growth is just as important as praying for harvest.

We’ve learned that time seems long when you’re in the middle of it all, and short at the end.

And we’ve learned about the peace of God when it seems all hell is breaking loose.

We’ve learned a lot.

I expect the story of humans on the earth this year to be no different than last year. But living differently based on what I learned last year is up to me. I have changed, I will change, and I will enjoy it while I can.

Peace to you and yours.

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