The Road Ahead

As we look at this new year, there’s often a sense of possibility. We look at the headlines and hope that they’ll improve, we look at potential changes at work, relationships, health, and finances. We look for the positive changes that can happen with a little good fortune and extra human oomph. But we also have to admit that starting a new year can also cast our minds back to the challenges of the past year. Starting a new year can give us bright dreams for the future, but it can also remind us of the pain of the past.

I was amazed and intrigued by a news article I read one time that told the story of a young man who had a painful experience. He had been enjoying the sun and water at Huntington Beach California with his family when a large object thudded into his back as a wave washed over him. He struggled back to the beach, washed the sand and blood from his back and then heard others saying that they had seen some gray fins circling near the spot where he had been wading. Had he collided with a shark?

The prospect of a shark attack was unnerving, but he was shocked even more a few days later when he visited the doctor for a checkup. After telling him that his chest pain was due to heart inflammation after the impact, the physician said that the scan revealed something much more worrisome. There was a large mass on his kidney. Finney went into surgery a few days later and the surgeon found a small malignant tumor. As painful as that shark attack had been, it had probably saved his life since the doctors wouldn’t have found this tumor until many months later when it had reached advanced status. By then, it would have been too late to save Eugene’s life (Kaplan).

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

It’s amazing how some of life’s tough seasons can actually work out for our benefit in the end. And God has the reins of our future firmly in his grasp. As we face the challenges and opportunities of 2019, let’s remember that God has a glorious plan in store for each of our lives and for us as a community. Although the route takes twists and turns, we can be confident that He holds the future.


Kaplan, Sarah. “A Shark Attack Saved My Life.” Morning Mix, The Washington Post, October 9, 2015,