Karen Brown recently published a blog post called, Good Grief, 2014! In it, she recapped many of the tragedies endured in the past year: the missing Malaysian aircraft, Ebola, Robin Williams’ death, Ferguson. Seeing this summary of so much pain all lumped together in one place made me close my eyes, as if I could block it all out with a lingering blink.

I read her post at the end of last year, praying that 2015 wouldn’t deal out as many harsh blows as 2014 did.

But now we’re only a handful of days into the new year, and the headlines are just as crushing.

For far too many, the generic greeting, “Happy New Year!” simply doesn’t apply.

new year


All who hold Kara Tippetts dear — her husband, her four young kids, her extended family and friends — none of them are going to have a happy new year. Her dear husband had to make one of the most heart-wrenching phone calls imaginable — he picked up the phone and called Hospice, because his young wife is dying.

The families of each of the 162 victims on the AirAsia flight that crashed into the sea — they are not going to have a happy new year. Many of them are going to shake their fists at the sky and scream, “Why?”

Seven-year-old Sailor Gutzler just survived a plane crash that killed four people — and she was the lone survivor. She watched her mother, father, nine-year-old sister and 14-year-old cousin die in that crash.

She is not going to have a happy new year. In fact, it may be a very, very long time before she is even able to smile again.

We read about all of these tragedies, and the weight of the burden is almost too much to bear. And we plead with the psalmist, “… lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”


Lead me to the rock


Happy New Year?

There is far too much sorrow in the world for happy to be enough.

We need something deeper — something lasting.

Something eternal.


So deep that even the worst of earthly circumstances can’t shake it.

As believers, we have a little secret. We know something that most of the journalists at CNN and BBC and NBC don’t know.

When the headlines hit and we feel the walls shudder and our insides tremble, we’ve got a secret that hunkers down in the bunker, safe and secure. It stoops low with its arms wrapped around pillars of joy, firmly rooted in the shadows.

It’s the secret that we’ve already won.

Tragedies will come, and this year might not be a happy one — but in God’s grace, that is not the battleground where our hope lives or dies.

Even when our faith knocks faintly on the door, when we’re battered and shaking, broken from all we’ve witnessed, when our lips quiver and our weak arms are all scraped up from the wreckage — even then, He is faithful.

We need more than “Happy New Year.”

We need the author of hope. 


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16 thoughts on “when “happy new year” isn’t enough

  1. I wish that I could feel your faith. I am not sure that I know that HE is there when tragedies keep striking. I don’t feel as if HE is all that faithful sometimes. Sometimes I just feel so forgotten!

    • Thank you for sharing this, Paula. I can be so very hard at times. I hear you. After reading your words, you are heavy on my heart this morning, and I’m praying now that the Lord would lift you up and encourage you. Lamentations chapter 3 comes to mind … read all of it, if you are able. Here is my favorite part:

      “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
      for his compassions never fail.
      They are new every morning;
      great is your faithfulness.
      I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
      therefore I will wait for him.”

      May He indeed be your portion as you wait for Him. Grace and strength to you!

  2. Kate- This is perfect- just what we need to have on the headlines of our heart. Thank you.

    And these words are so very beautiful: “Even when our faith knocks faintly on the door, when we’re battered and shaking, broken from all we’ve witnessed, when our lips quiver and our weak arms are all scraped up from the wreckage — even then, He is faithful.” Amen.

    Also, thank you for mentioning my post.:) Your words here add a profound exclamation point to my message.

    • Karen, thank *you* for writing your powerful post, and for being faithful to use your own gifts and write to the glory of God. So looking forward to seeing what the Lord does through you in 2015! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. “It’s the secret that we’ve already won.”

    You have no idea how much I needed those words. Thank you for reminding me of that truth. I love that you used “lead me to the rock that is higher than I” because I actually just blogged on that exact scripture myself. There’s been much hard in my life this past year and I’m fighting away lies for truth but it is not easy. Thank you for speaking real and not shying away from hard and for shining the light of hope into the darkness. Hugs sister.

    • I’m so glad you stopped by, Shana! Grateful for your encouragement! May God grant you much strength in the coming year to persevere in the midst of hardship. Blessings to you.

  4. Kate, thank you so much for your beautiful words…It is certainly true that everybody does NOT always have a “happy” new year. For some, it IS just another year, another month, another day. We DO have our “portion”, God IS there for us…and like Paula – sometimes I fail to feel Him near as well…but in my heart and soul, I KNOW He IS there! And I try to live my life knowing that He IS. Blessings to you…blessings, Paula; praying you FEEL His presence.

  5. A much needed reminder for us all. In recent days, I have also been reminded of this and am holding onto >>> “God is our refuge and our strength, an EVER-PRESENT help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1). So grateful He is always there with us each moment. Blessings!

  6. I stood at a candlelight memorial last night for a beautiful young girl in our community who after surgery and a hopeful recovery, passed away in her sleep. So many are grieved at the tragic loss and her family, simply devastated. The resounding theme was that they knew, that they knew that she was in heaven. Her small life had big impact and glorified God. The peace that you speak of here – it passed through the places that nobody could understand and it answered the questions we all asked. God was so faithful to move. Thank you for sharing you’re heart. Visiting from Meredith’s.

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