What about our box of chocolates?

Published 5:50 am Sunday, January 7, 2018

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is history. We have many things to be thankful for along with events and situations that unfortunately brought sorrow, pain, and disappointment. Forest Gump’s mom said, “life is like a box of chocolates” as we never know what we are going to get. I guess basically we can see the point, even though this seems to imply that even the worst of times would be no more than just another flavor of candy. However, in the real world we can agree that we are not only unaware of what is coming our way, but also unprepared how these future events will change our life.

I’ve had several people express to me how they did not feel excited about Christmas this year. I must admit that I agree and with me personally there are a few reasons why. Over the years I’ve done some research about the origins of the holidays and let’s just say the more we learn the more we are accountable for. Another reason is with our kids now in their mid-thirties and married, we are still eagerly waiting for grandchildren. Without small children running around, the enthusiasm of the festivities is reduced to say the least. I must also include that the relentless bombardment of holiday advertising is enough to dampen even the most fanatical participators. It seems by the time we’ve been exposed to numerous Santa Clause salesmen, decorated trees, dinner parties, shopping excursions, holiday songs, movies, etc… we are more than ready to pack it all up and escape from the chaos. Maybe I’m turning into the Grinch or Mr. Scrooge, or could it be something more? Maybe, I’m sad because things are not the way they used to be. I keep thinking back when life seemed more simple and sincere. I miss certain individuals that are no longer with us and their absence has left an empty place in my heart. Yes, the world is rapidly changing and all of it is not necessarily for the better.

I also have thoughts about growing older. For those of us who are wondering who that white-haired person is in the mirror, I’m starting to feel a little nervous and maybe even stressed about my future. Issues like financial security for our retirement and questions about our health are like those unknown pieces of chocolate, but I’ve come to understand that I can plan my life through two different views. I can depend on my own abilities and allow my emotions to establish how I feel and who I am. Or, I can decide to draw close to God and learn how to trust Him with everything. The first choice is to live in fear and worry which is a very miserable way to exist. I know we are to use our mind and do everything we can to help ourselves, but there is likely to come a time when we will have a problem so large that we cannot fix it on our own. The second choice has everything to do with becoming very serious about our relationship with Jesus Christ. Surrendering our will to Him is the most difficult sacrifice we will ever make, but keep in mind that He also made the ultimate sacrifice for you because He loves you more than anything. A very common response to the topic of faith is, “you do not have a clue what I’m going through” and I realize that, however the severity of our problems cannot change the reality of His truth. There are occasions like with John 3:16, when even the simplest message can awaken us to a brand-new way of living, but our part will always include embracing and believing that His promises cannot fail. Can you imagine how much peace and joy we could experience with Him every moment if we would trust Him with everything? It’s not essential that we know where God is taking us, what He is going to do or how He is going to do it, we just need to pull over, give Him the keys and let Him drive. This coming year, God desires to be the Lord of our life, no matter what flavors of chocolate are still in our box.

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Dr. Holland lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian author and community outreach chaplain.