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I have heard many people say that 2016 – with its reports of wars, political tensions, violence and wide-scale computer hacking (really, you can generate fake news?!) – was a rough year.

Over the last few weeks, the book of Revelation has been very comforting to me. I don’t mean that I am reading today’s new and predicting the “end of the world” tomorrow. What is comforting to me is not that Christ someday will be King. What is comforting is that He already is King!

I’ve always read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah as if the events happened seamlessly, one after another and, to be honest, a little bit “by magic.” I have always taken it for granted that God somehow just “did something” and that everything happened pretty quickly. This time through, I took a deeper look into the story – into the details and the drama –  for the miraculous ways God worked through (instead of “in spite of”) history and people.

I’m not sure how clearly it comes through in my writing, but I am a fairly moody person. It is not unusual for me to wake up feeling discouraged and overwhelmed. Maybe something didn’t go right yesterday. Maybe an important relationship is feeling a little strained. Maybe life isn’t working out as I expected. Whatever the cause, it can lead to mornings – and if I am not careful, the rest of the day – feeling let down. (Charlie Brown has always made perfect sense to me.)

Some of my goals in life are to always be happy, always be sure, always be confident and excited about what I need to do next. But, apparently, these were not Jesus’ goals.

Having the right amount of hope is important: too much, and you are heading for disappointment and disillusionment, maybe despair. Too little, and you are already there!
 
Looking back over the ups and downs of my life, I can see that I have been “in the ditch” on both sides of this road.