Konichiwa 2017! Reflecting on Past Reflections…

Even though I live on the other side of the world, I still see the happenings of all the lovely goings on back home and around the world. 2016 was a year of too many celebrities passing away, and the ushering in of our new Chief Executive. Everything is just constantly in a state of flux it seems.

Sometimes I look back at my own life and I can’t believe the things I’ve experienced, the choices I’ve made, the paths I’ve walked down. Some more glamorous than others, needless to say.

I often wonder why I look back at times and regret certain choices or decisions. Maybe it’s just an intrinsic human quality, or maybe it’s just me. But at other times, I look back with pride.

Now here I am in Japan, January 1, embarking on a new path, scared and excited simultaneously, and I wonder what will become of me this year. Even six months from now. How will I look back upon this year?

Depending on your stance or view of things like Heaven and Hell, eternity, God, and things like that; the following may or may not mean anything to you:

Each year that goes by I seem to reflect more and more on a video snippet of a sermon by a pastor named Francis Chan. In the video he has a rope stretched across the stage and at the very end a few inches worth of the rope is colored red. The red part represents our time alive on earth. The rest of the rope represents eternity.

The gist of the video points out how we ALL worry and worry and plan and plan and chase and chase during our time alive. We save and save so that the very tiny end part of the red section of rope is hopefully lived in posh comfort.

Then he picks up the eternity part of the rope and addresses the audience…

“What about all this?”

This type of message always helps me keep things in the ultimate perspective. Never would I have thought 15 years ago that I’d be living in Hiroshima, Japan in 2017. Yet, I’m here and this whole somewhat indescribable journey that started in Busan, Korea circa 2011 baffles me at times.

In twelve months my life will be much different than how I recognize it now. I believe that. This year will further teach me that life is a journey and not an end game. The right things, the best things, happen exactly when they’re supposed to for each individual.

I hope your best things happen for you in 2017. Happy New Year!


  1. Love Francis Chan and love that rope illustration. Another great preacher from years ago put it another way: he prayed that God would “stamp eternity on our eyeballs.” It’s a perspective I pray for a lot, especially the older I get. No matter what my plans are, or where I think I’m going, ultimately I want to be where God wants me to be and live a life that is eternally significant.

    I’m a relatively recent follower of your blog, Tom, but stumbled across your Youtube videos a while back as I researched EPIK info (the videos have been super helpful, btw!). God-willing, I’ll be headed to South Korea in February to teach for EPIK and start my own new journey. Like you, I never imagined a few years ago this is where I’d end up, but you never know where God will take you. Blessings to you for the year ahead, and I look forward to hearing about the exciting things God has in store for you…(Jeremiah 29:11).

    • Such a great analogy. Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad to hear my blog has been helpful and it’s great to hear you’re going to Korea. It’ll be fun!

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