I believe it was baseball great Yogi Berra who unintentionally coined the infamous phrase “this is like deja vu all over again.” He also said “You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours”; and others such as “nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.” These are just three of many Yogi Berra-isms.
You know what deja vu is — the feeling that you are experiencing something that has happened to you before. Deja vu all over again would be experiencing same thing again and then again. It doesn’t really make sense, but in some strange way it does.
Our lives can be shaped by our experiences, and they can either make us or break us. They can make us stronger if we see them as learning experiences, or they can break us if we have an “oh no, not again!” attitude. Only you can choose which it will be.
Even though there have been many tough things for me to learn (including bouts with depression and anxiety), I have tried to learn from my experiences. And I choose to learn because I believe it is what honours God.
If you are able to stand strong in the midst of adversity, even though what you are going through seems to be just one more thing piled on top of another, you will be a better person for it; even though it may seem like “deja vu all over again.”
But this is something that you cannot do alone. I believe that there are three essential tools that you need in your toolbelt. They are faith, hope and love.
You must have faith; faith that God in Christ is with you, knowledge that you are not alone in your adversity. Faith requires belief and belief requires trust. Trust is what gives us the confidence to believe in Someone far greater than ourselves. If you have faith, you will be able to stand up to anything that comes your way.
Then you must have hope. Not hope as in some vague promise that you don’t expect to happen, but hope in the confident knowledge that something will be. It is hope that believes in Scripture and knows that it is true. Hope is like a beacon because it leads the way even when things are at their darkest moment. Hope is what gives us a reason to continue on.
Finally, you must have love. Love is what gives us the capacity for faith and hope. When our love is strong, then so will be our faith and our hope. The apostle Paul calls love the greatest of all the gifts. If you can love in the midst of adversity, you will be strong.
There is another saying that is attributed to Yogi Berra: “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” This coming year may present you with many “forks” in the road for you to take. Each one will present you with its own opportunities and challenges. Some of these “forks” may present you with difficulties and/or crisis. Whatever it may be, try to see if there is anything that you can learn from the experience, and how you can live with faith, hope and love. So in 2015 (where did 2014 go?) when you come to a “fork in the road” and if feels like “deja vu all over again”, try to meet the challenge with integrity and strength of character.