2016 is Not a Person: A Thought on Providence
As the year draws to its close tomorrow night, we are all given the opportunity to reflect on all of the highs and the lows of 2016. From racial tensions, the presidential election, and the deaths of so many beloved individuals, it is safe to say that 2016 has been a year of disappointments.
It is also safe to say that people have not held back (at all) from expressing these woes.
I have seen floating around Facebook lately the anger that burns against the year 2016. Many people have addressed the year in ways such as:
“2016, you’re such a monster”
“This year needs to die”
“2016 better not kill one more person or else I will…”
I can understand this frustration. In the past year, we have seen a lot of strife and a lot of hurt. But I can only understand this attitude to a point.
Because 2016 did not decide that Carrie Fisher would die this year; God did.
As Christians, we should not be surprised by immorality, death, or destruction. We should not expect anything less from this world, because Jesus told us directly that we would face all sorts of trouble. In the Gospel of John Jesus says, “…in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (16:33).
God allows hurt in this world. And we don’t like to think about that too often. The question of how a good God can allow pain has plagued the minds of humans from the beginning. And we do not like the answer to this question, because the blame is on ourselves. Our own sinful immorality necessitates pain and death.
It seems that the personification of the year 2016 has been society’s way at being angry at providence without believing in providence. So many people do not want to believe in God. A belief in a Supreme Being requires a response of obedience; yet when our lives of sin end in destruction and death, we want someone to blame for it other than ourselves. And since God was thrown out, we give the calendar year a personality and burn it as a martyr for hurting us.
Every year, since the fall of man, the world has brought about hurts, frustrations, and death. And while 2016 is the freshest wound, the years before it brought hurt as well. Our society needs to be reminded of the brutal yet looming reality that 2017 will not be any better. We are simply turning to a new chapter in the same beat up book. And while our hearts are still saddened at the deaths and strifes of other individuals, we can have peace as we read this story because we know the Author.
I can rest in the pain written on the pages of this book because I know there is a greater story. All of the life I have come to know is nothing but the mere title page of the great story: a story that reveals to us the plan of this seemingly tangled mess of life, pushing us to worship the One who perfectly orchestrated it all. The pain of this world only further clarifies the joys of the next.
At the end of this year, I am reminded of this beautiful truth: I am not God.
I do not have to make decisions regarding how the world works and who experiences it. Believe me, you’re glad I’m not God too (if I was, there would be considerably less breathing bodies to read this article). Be glad that you are not God. Be glad that your feeble human mind does not have to explain life’s toughest questions.
And be overwhelmingly glad that there is a God. Because we can know that He is good, and perfectly and completely in control of this year and all the years to come.