After spending last month looking at the topic of hope, we all are now “hoping” for a better New Year. Last year at this time, we had no idea of all the tumult 2020 would bring. For me, those next 12 months involved recovering from three major spinal surgeries, followed by the loss of my husband. I thought that was enough for any one year.
Then in November, the night before my birthday, I took a dramatic fall as I tripped over a rug and catapulted myself through the bathroom doorway to land on the cold tile floor. All the air was knocked out of my lungs. My first thought was that I had fractured both ankles. I also worried whether I had just destroyed all the hard work my surgeon had done correcting issues with my spine. Shaken, I grabbed the door jamb and pulled myself up to a sitting position. When that went well, a few minutes later I inched myself to a standing position. I discovered in amazement that I could stand. My ankles were not broken, just ligaments stretched.
With the help of my walker, I hobbled out to the kitchen and got several ice bags from the freezer door. I sat down on the couch, placed an ice pack on each ankle and held another on my forearm which was also promising a large bruise. As my heart returned to a more normal pace, I began to smile. And then laugh. How many times have I told my students that our God is a God of surprises? Here I thought the last month of 2020 would be smooth sailing, that the worst was behind me. Yet God had just provided one more surprise.
Not all his surprises are full of trauma. Every year I ask God for a special Christmas gift just from him to me. This year he gave me three! One was the joy of seeing my neighbor recover from COVID. Another was seeing my mother, at age 93, return home from a trip to the hospital after testing negative for the virus. And the third? Well, that one I’ll keep secret for now. I think God is still putting the icing on the top.
As for 2021? We have no guarantees about the coming year. All we know for certain is that our God will be full of surprises!