If your heart has not been pulverized by sorrow, disappointment and injustice by the time you reach midlife, you are either sorely disconnected or extremely lucky. During the first week of this new year, I find myself wanting to lay my head down and weep at the hardships that encompass from within and without.

I have much to be thankful for – a safe home, the love of my family and a few close friends, opportunities to pursue meaningful work. But along the way, the losses and regrets and awareness of my own limitations have snowballed to such a degree that the utter weight and size of my sadness threatens to bury me.

This is where I would like to announce my New Year’s resolutions or to proclaim a focus word to usher in a prosperous and happy year. But I didn’t make any resolutions, and no single word would suffice. Instead, I find myself reciting a simple, childlike song that God spoke to my heart during another difficult season. In the hope that it may encourage you, here it is:

The Lord, he loves you.

His plans for you are good.

Just keep trusting, and do what you know you should.

The Lord, he loves you.

His day is drawing near.

Just keep watching, and don’t give in to fear.

That’s it.

Like I said, pretty simple.

But when the weight of the world threatens to overwhelm, I find it helpful to remember these truths, beginning with the fact that God loves us. No power or failure or difficulty can alter his plans. They are good even when what you are experiencing is not.

Keep trusting. When troubles come and violence rocks your world and support and leadership seems lacking, choose to trust that God is still in control, still working out his plan. Then keep right on doing whatever it is that you must, one teeny step at a time, whether it’s making the bed or making dinner or making a better life for yourself or someone you love. No matter what is wrong, keep doing what is right.

When even that seems like too much, stay connected to God. Remind yourself often that he loves you.

Really, he loves you.

Wars, famine, drought, wildfires, earthquakes, violence, greed – this nightly newscast of terrors are forecast to increase before Christ returns to restore justice and righteousness. Crazy! But that’s what Scripture says. Rather than embracing fear, those who embrace Christ are instructed to watch for his return with active anticipation.

“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near,” Luke 21:28 (NIV).

So if you, like me, are often overwhelmed by hardships, weep if you must, but resolve not to quit. You are part of God’s unfolding story. He loves you and wants to show his love to you and through you – because others are hurting too.

Meadow Rue Merrill writes and reflects on God’s presence in her everyday life from a little house in the big woods of Midcoast Maine. Her memoir, “Redeeming Ruth: Everything Life Takes, Love Restores,” is available for pre-order and releases in May 2017.

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