2016: A Year in Review

It's become a sort of annual tradition of mine to look back at the end of each year and reflect on what happened. So here goes.

(You can go back and read my reflections on 2015, 2014, and 2012 - I have no idea what happened in 2013.)

It seems like 2016 is the year culture wants to forget (if I see one more meme about how 2016 was the worst ...). And some awful things really did happen. I'm not discounting them. We saw the brutality of war and the ensuing refugee crisis. We saw terrorist attacks and hate. We saw so many celebrity deaths (Harper Lee, Alan Rickman, Nancy Reagan, David Bowie, Prince). We saw huge and scary political shifts (Brexit and, need I even mention the election of Donald Trump?). We saw a massacre in Orlando. We saw the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling and racial tensions boil over again and again. We saw bombings and strife in the Middle East.

There was a lot of bad.

But happy things happened too. God blessed us with simple, unspectacular joys. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Netflix brought us Stranger Things. The Chewbacca Lady spread joy far and wide. Hamilton happened. Doctor Strange came out. The Babylon Bee was born. Gospel-rich books were published. Truth was proclaimed. The gospel was shared.

And it was a pretty epic year for me. I landed a book contract. Then I wrote a book. I started a podcast. I traveled to Indianapolis (twice!). I went to Chicago and ate deep dish pizza. I read a lot of good books. I fell in love with cooking. I made new friends. I started writing for The Gospel Coalition and desiringGod. I got to hear John Piper preach live (twice!). I discovered minimalism. And I turned 19.

All in all, it was a pretty good year. Sure, bad things happened for me too, but God was overwhelmingly good. Of course, he's good no matter what happens. That's a difficult but profound truth.

As I look at the year ahead and think of the new year's resolutions so many are making, I'm reminded of Jonathan Edwards' resolutions. As a young man, he recorded these 70 commitments to pursue a life of full-throttled, single-focused, passionate obedience to Christ.

And it's his first resolution that I want to focus on for the new year. May this be my resolution for the new year. And may it be yours.

"Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad's of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever."