The deaths of George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds this week seemed to set off yet another wave of complaints — not that we would be robbed of their respective talents (the word being used generously in the case of Mr. Michael), bur rather that 2016 was going to go down in history that much faster as the worst year in the history of … whatever.

How realistic is that?  On a whim, I checked the archives.  Natalie Cole, Marion James and Meadowlark Lemon (a greater entertainer than the other five combined, in my book) passed away the same week in 2015 — not to mention dozens of “celebrities” of whom I had never heard.  And just as many folks were screaming doom and gloom eight and four years ago over political developments as now.

Bad things happen.  Every year.  Good things, too — starting with living through the bad things, but by no means ending there.  For me, I saw the most disappointing election cycle of my adult life, I saw multiple brethren take sledgehammers to their marriages, and I saw the inside of my colon for the first time.  But I also spent a fifth holiday season associated with the best church I’ve ever had a chance to minister to, I participated in multiple baptisms, I preached the gospel in two new states, and I cultivated a new hobby that brought me closer to my wife and family.

Is there some reason I should emphasize the bad over the good?

Surely the child of God can have Job’s faith in the God who gives and takes away (Job 1:21) — and also be reminded how little, compared to Job he really has to complain about.

And if all else fails, if the life we live here is just absolutely too miserable to take for another minute, at least believers are a year closer to heaven (Romans 13:11).  That’s a comfort for me.  If you are not a believer, I’d suggest you seek Jesus’ remedy for what ails you instead of just wallowing in misery.

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