How many of you would say, "You know, for me, if I'm honest, 2021 may go down as one of the best years of my life?" Anybody agree with that? You just had an amazing 2021…show of hands, maybe a little applause. How many of you would say 2021 was a year…it wasn't spectacular, it wasn't a disaster, it was just a year like any other year? How many of you would say 2021 didn't go so well? You're glad it's over? Here we are, we believe in God, believe in the Bible, are involved in church on some level because we're here, one day after New Year's Day, and we have varying perspectives on how the past year went.
We know people for whom the past year was one disaster after another. And yet, even as they went from disaster to disaster, it seemed like nothing could shake them. We wonder, how can they stay so strong…so upbeat…so hopeful? Then there are those who had their ups and downs, not really disasters, just what I call "First World Problems." Oh, no, the toilet paper aisle isn't stocked to overflowing. The wifi was down for a few hours. Honeycrisp apples are so expensive - have you seen the apple selection at your grocery store? How many choices there are? My wife and I eat apples, on a daily basis, so much so that the doctor won't let us schedule an appointment. We really are blessed…most of us, most of the time, and yet there are people who almost always seem to be shaken, downcast, discouraged. "When will it end?" they cry. If they're not panicked, they're fearful. If they're not fearful, they're complaining. If they're not complaining, they're criticizing. It's hard for some people to see the good in life.
All of us believe in God. All of us trust the Bible and all it teaches and reveals about God and Jesus and our salvation. So why is there such a polar difference in how people experience life's challenges and difficulties?