I had no idea what 2016 had in store for the Dainsberg family. One thing I never imagined was having to accompany my four-year-old daughter in an ambulance as she was transported to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee. I didn’t see that coming. Those were the darkest days of my life. The cloud of that horrific experience still hangs over me. To be honest, there’s a big part of me that looks at 2017 and is asking: “What will it be this year?”

I know what you’re thinking, “Brian, can you post something more uplifting?” I can and I will, but there needs to be a balance in our approach to a new year. When Jesus came to earth he announced the kingdom of heaven had arrived. But the fullest experience of the kingdom is yet to come. Theologians call this the “already, not yet.” The “already, not yet” should help us set our expectations for a new year.

On the one hand, the kingdom is already here so there will be experiences of God’s grace and goodness in the year to come. Enjoy them and praise God for them. But on the other hand, the kingdom is still yet to come so there will be experiences of brokenness and the reality of sin in this fallen world. Don’t be surprised by them.

The stark reality of living in the “already, not yet” is that you will suffer in 2017. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The best way I know how to handle suffering is to prepare for it before it happens. During the next three Sundays at Alliance Bible Church, we will be turning to the book of Job to help prepare us for the dark clouds that are sure to occupy our skies in the year to come. It’s not a particularly fun topic to think about, but it’s reality.

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