If you took a breath this year, you might’ve noticed a seemingly inordinate amount of people took time to complain about how bad 2016 seemed to be. It’s easy to fall into the trap of agreeing with this statement. Maybe your guy wasn’t elected as president. Maybe your guy was but he is constantly criticized by everyone with a social media account or talk show. Maybe you saw too many acts of violence, malice or hateful speech.

These could all be true, but it would do nothing to change the actual state of our world.

Our world, if we have placed our faith and belief in Christ Jesus, is totally safe and extremely sound. The mistake we make that allows us to believe 2016 was the worst year on record is that we look at our lives, country and world through a secular lens.

A son has been born, our sins have been covered and a Christ has been resurrected. For us, this is all that should decide whether or not our year was a success. I understand how easy it is to believe something contrary to that, but ultimately, as sons and daughters of Christ, we have to be the ones leading the charge of positivity — not for positivity’s sake, but because the world needs to see Christians as people who are unwavering in their belief and faith in their Savior, constantly allowing themselves to be renewed by Christ’s love and a supremely perfect plan from him.

God is God in every moment, and that God is good. He is for our well-being — whether we fully believe that or not — and he is looking to lift us up to places of influence, discipleship and love where we can display his glory to the world around us.

If you feel like 2016 has you down-trodden and weary as we head towards the new year, understand that God has been faithful to his promise.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.
— Romans 8:28

God’s kingdom has stood for the entirety of the world’s existence. He created our world, and he has continually worked in ways we couldn’t have even imagined on our own. If you feel like this year has indicated the “beginning of the end” or something equally ominous, I would urge you to remind yourself of his goodness and his constant provision — not according to our plans, desires or wants, but his perfect, essential and necessary plan. Rejoice in that plan’s prevalence this year, those prior and those to come.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
— Jeremiah 29:11