As I stand on the precipice of 2015 and gaze over into 2016, I’m reminded that with the coming of the new year will be a fresh year, new beginnings, and new lessons.  As I consider the year that’s behind me, I’m grateful for the lessons that God has taught me about life.  As with each passing year, it’s important to comprehend the lessons that you’ve learned as you’ve walked the path of life.  Learning from mistakes, failures, and hardships is apart of what it means to be human.  Refusing to learn is foolish.

In 2015 our family has learned much about the frailty of life.  With a sudden tragic event with our daughter Karis when we found her in the early hours of the morning having a seizure as a result of her diabetes (blood sugar crash), it caused us to look back and see how things could have ended differently.  By God’s grace, we implemented the emergency plan, gave her the glucagon shot and had her taken by ambulance to the hospital, and she had a full recovery.  In fact, that whole scene played itself out at 6:45am and twelve hours later we were sitting at our supper table as a family.  This was as much a lesson about the providence of God as it was the frailty of life.

Not only have I learned lessons from my own failures and testings, but I’ve also learned from other people as well.  When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he instructed them to remember the people who were written down as examples for them (1 Cor. 10:11).  We can learn from bad examples and good examples.  Hebrews 11 is a chapter filled with positive examples for us to remember and learn from.

I have spent much time reading and learning from George Muller in 2015.  Not only did I read his biographies, autobiography, and other writings by and about George Muller, but my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Bristol, England this year.  Muller once said, “The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.”  Not only can we learn from our own testings, but likewise from the trials other people experience.

Just a little more than a week ago, a 16 year old young man in our community was suddenly killed in a car accident.  His family was one moment wrapping gifts and planning their Christmas gatherings that were merely hours away when they received the news that their son was dead.  I received a letter a couple of weeks ago from a man who attends our annual G3 Conference.  He informed me that he and his wife attended the conference last year and purchased their tickets for the next year too.  However, he informed me that during 2015 she died of cancer and would not be attending the G3 in January.  He told me that he still plans to attend, but he just wanted me to know that she would not make it this year.

We never know what a year may bring.  It will surely bring smiles and tears, joys and fears, blessings and burdens.  It would be wise for us to learn to thank God for the gift of life – one day it will pass.