Updated on December 31, 2017
A view of the year from above
This summer we took a trip to Colorado to see our dear friends. And as we look back over 2017, this is by far the Sain family’s favorite memory. It was our first trip out west, the boys first plane ride and so good for our hearts to be with our friends. It was also the first time we ever attempted to drive a rental car filled with five boys up a snowy mountain road in hopes of getting a view from the top of Pike’s Peak. This little adventure topped our list as one of the most terrifying and most amazing things we did this year.
It hadn’t seemed like it would be that hard. Our friends had done it and their boys were telling stories of the awesome views and the delicious treats there were served at the top of the mountain. So off we went loaded down in our little rental van.
But it had snowed, a lot. In June?? Our southern minds could not process this.
I think it was when we were in line behind the snowplows that we began to realize this little trip wasn’t going exactly as planned. The views on the treacherous roads were breathtaking. And we were forced to pull over to the very edges of them while the path was cleared. You could look right back behind you and see where you had been.
But the fear of falling or crashing or losing a kid over the edge just made me want to close my eyes. I found myself riding with my eyes shut for a bit, but then the sheer beauty of it all would force them back open.
There was just so much to see. I didn’t want to miss any of it.
And now, as the final hours of 2017 wind down, we flip through the pictures of this precious trip and land on this one. I took it out of the rental car window during that snowy drive up the mountain. I can still hear the silly boys behind me laughing, feel the waves of motion sickness and picture the death grip my husband had on that steering wheel — but the beauty and the wonder of that view take my breath away.
God’s creation unfolding right in front of me. How could I not open my eyes and see it?
See. That was my word for 2017. I wrote about it here last year.
“See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19). The windy roads of this last year are covered with the words of that verse.
For me, 2017 was a year of learning that I am not in control; a year of standing amazed, a little motion sick, a little heartbroken but always aware that God is at work and present in it all.
And for our nation, this has also been a year with much to see. Many of the events that have filled our newsreels this last year, though, have made us want to squeeze our eyes shut. From natural disasters to human carnage, 2017 has felt overwhelming at times.
We have ridden a roller coaster of emotions through storms, riots, shootings, and destruction. If nothing else, 2017 has reminded us of the holiness and the fragility of life; of why we are called to love our neighbors and be salt and light in the middle of life’s hard places.
But perhaps you, like me, are looking back over your shoulder feeling a little motion sick.
That verse keeps ringing in the back of my head. This world; trouble, overwhelming circumstances, roads that twist and turn and make us sure we’re headed the wrong way. This world slings its trouble at us from every direction. God knows how we want to squeeze our eyes shut and refuse to see.
I hear him whisper it like this. Open your eyes. It’s okay to look. I know its scary and loud and hard to understand. But don’t miss the beauty of the journey. Open your eyes to my glory in the most unexpected places. Take heart. See me with you. It changes the view.
I don’t know what 2017 held for you or what you are looking into as you peer over the edge of 2018. But I do know this.
There is no place you can go, no road you run, no mountain you can climb or valley you can fall into that Jesus is not with you.
“Where can I go from your Spirit, where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heaven your there if I make my bed in the depths you are there …” (Psalm 139:7-9).
So maybe you are beginning this year with a drive up a mountain in a car full of exuberant boys or maybe it is quiet and still as the year slips in. Maybe you wish it was different, that you could see where you are headed or what’s around the next bend or maybe you have an exact plan of which way to go.
But whatever your view is today, know this. You are not alone. God sees that road out in front of you, too.
Open your eyes and take it all in. The view from where you are is one you might never have again. Don’t miss it. Breathe it in and know that Jesus is walking right into 2018 with you.
He sees the view of the whole year from above; every twist and every turn. So take heart, hold on tight, open your eyes and start walking. Who knows what you might see…
Happy New Year, friends! May the peace of Christ dwell among you as you begin 2018.