It would really be neat if I had something really wise to say as some kind of concluding remarks for the year of 2010. I have heard some excellent remarks made and thought to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” I heard David Powell deliver a challenging and powerful lesson the first Sunday night of 2011 entitled “Now Is The Time.” An application David made from an illustration about Hernán Cortés who, upon an invasion of Mexico, ordered his ships sunk was, “We must go forward or die.” What a statement! None of us can go back and undo the past. Death is the only thing that can stop the clock. The only option, therefore, is to continue living—to continue going forward with life recognizing our time and opportunities on earth are precious and that the Bible must be our guide to get us safely through this life (cf. Eph. 5:15-21).
But in order to continue with the future as we all must experience, we have to let go of the past. It’s still hard to comprehend how fast 2010 flew by us. But it is gone. It is now history. And no amount of longing or wishing can bring it back.
Sometimes I’ll hear about somebody being “stuck in the past.” What that means is maybe there’s someone who continues to wear a certain hairstyle or clothing relating to a particular decade, or continually reminisces about a certain era. For example, someone who is considered “stuck in the 70’s” might be fond of double-knit bell-bottom slacks, polyester sports coats with wide lapels, and loves watching old re-runs of the “Brady Bunch.”
But the fact remains we must all eventually let loose of what is past and embrace the present. Who could have predicted what 2010 brought? And what about 2011? What does this New Year hold for our lives? Obviously, there is much mystery as we enter another 365 days of the unknown. Yet, part of that answer is determined by decisions you and I will make. And to bring our decisions to much greater relevance is to realize that whatever the year has in store for us, those decisions made in favor of and in harmony with God’s will, assuredly survive whatever uncertainties that may come our way.
Have you made poor decisions in 2010? Sure, we all have. Hopefully, none of them are too serious. And those that were—those that involved sin can be forgiven and forgotten through the sin-cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. Let go of those failures and let God deal with them. Have you tried your level-best to stop some bad habit but failed? Have you met nothing but resistance trying to show the love of Christ to others? Does it seem as if no one seems to care but you that the world is on-course for disaster “going to hell in a handbasket”? Are you suffering from loneliness, heartache, depression, sin-sickness or any number of spiritual or mental miseries? The answer may be as simple as just letting go. Letting them go to be picked up by our All-Wise God and Caring Savior Jesus Christ! “Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6, 7).
Admittedly, there are some things about 2010 I wish I could hold onto: cherished memories like BVBIU graduation in Gorlovka, Ukraine and meeting and getting to know our new students for the fall; CBC graduation in Chimala, Tanzania and seeing the joy on those men’s faces as they received their diplomas after studying and working so hard for two long years. You can do your own reminiscing. But it’s important that while we retain the good memories that will last; let us also learn the art of letting go of those matters of which we frequently have no control. And then let us positively “wait on the Lord” as He decides the outcome of those things we’ve had to let go. Howell
“Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
The following bullets describe some of the high-lights looking back at the year of 2010 for both the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Ukraine and the Chimala Bible College in Tanzania.
- Jan 18 – First day of Class at CBC.
- March 4 – Mary and I departed for Ukraine for a 3-month stay.
- March 8-12 – I taught Personal Evangelism at BVBIU.
- March 15-19 – I taught the book of Job at BVBIU.
- April 25-May 14 – I taught the book of James at BVBIU.
- May 7 – last day of class for CBC as Chimala Mission “winter” campaigns begin.
- May 18 – BVBIU graduation.
- June 3 – Mary and I returned home from Ukraine.
- August 26 – Mary and I departed for Ukraine for a 3-week stay.
- August 30 – BVBIU orientation.
- August 31 – First day of Class at BVBIU.
- Sept 1-14 – I taught the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther at BVBIU.
- Sept 17 – Mary and I departed from Ukraine on our way to Tanzania for a 2-month stay.
- Sept 20-Oct 29 – I taught the book of Isaiah and Church Planting and Development at CBC.
- Nov 1-5 – I taught Paul’s Prison Epistles at CBC.
- Nov 8-12 – I taught the book of Revelation at CBC.
- Nov 12 – CBC graduation.
- Nov 15 – Mary and I return home from Tanzania.
- Dec 17 – Last day of class for BVBIU winter break.
Other Americans who participated in short course teaching duties in the two schools include: Robert Curry, Garry Hill, Steve Housley, Keith Kasarjian, Denny Petrillo, and Jim Sherman. Thanks guys! Howell
Howell and Mary at CBC graduation – Chimala, TZ.