The losses and the one gain
2016. It was a tough year for me personally. For the entire year, I had no income at all. All my hopes of going abroad for my studies vaporized before my very eyes and to add to that, I had a near fatal experience. The sickness started sometime in April and I was still struggling with the effects and weaknesses even after 7 months. It was a debilitating year for me. In a sense, I only saw losses in 2016. Yet, there was something unsettling as I was approaching the end of the year.
Every year, I would be looking at the losses I had suffered and the things I had gained; and as the last week of the year approaches, I would be looking forward for that year to end, hoping that the dawn of new year would change everything. And in my heart, there would be always a sense of disappointment over that year. Hopes that vanished in thin air, the promises that were not fulfilled and the wasted opportunities – all these would weigh my heart. And when I lead the year-end worship service, I would be happy for two reasons – that the year is over and the coming year would be a blessing. It has been a long time since I was happy for the year that passed by.
But this year, it was very different. 2016 had to be worst year I had ever faced. In everything, I suffered loss. Yet, when I entered the last days of 2016, there was a divine serenity in my mind. And I was sad that 2016 was coming to an end. And when I led the congregation in worship on December 31st, I realized that I was very happy for the year 2016 – not that it is ending… but that I was very blessed during 2016. When I thanked the Lord with the congregation for 2016, there was a sense of gratitude that I had never felt before in life. Because, in all my losses, I have gained that one thing that mattered – being at the feet of Jesus and knowing Him.
Compared with the previous years, my Bible reading was less in 2016 as I was sick for nearly 4 months and due to an over-enthusiastic medical student, my eye sight was also affected for nearly 3 months. Yet, the Lord spoke to me through those verses I had known before; He spoke in whispers, through songs and through His prophets. In 2016, He made me realize how vile I had been; I was mortified to realize how at the very source, my heart itself was so depraved. The Lord made me realize that the grace He has showed me all these years is more amazing than I could ever fathom. Even at this very moment, if He withdraws His grace, even for a second, my heart would be in a free fall.
And, the Lord has made me realize how great He is. Though I am writing about certain things about my sickness, there is no way, yet, for me to write about my sufferings without breaking down. The suffering was so great. But in midst of all those sufferings, the comfort that the Lord provided me was also infinitely greater. And His deliverances were so simple and gentle, it felt as if I was in a dream – just like Peter felt when he walked out of the prison in Jerusalem.
Most importantly, the Lord made me realize that there is a greater purpose in life… not just for me, but for every single Christian who is saved by the sacrificial blood of the Lamb. In 2016, the Lord made me to know Christ, Him crucified in every believer.
Oh my Father in heaven, I am so grateful for the year 2016. I had lost so many things, but I am filled with joy because I gained the knowledge of Your Son and my Saviour Jesus Christ. May this 2017 bring me closer to Him, so that I know Him, and through Him, know You, my dear Father. In Christ’s name. Amen.