Happy New Year! The calendar marks a time of hopeful change: new beginnings, a chance to start over, finally a time to make things right. Rewind! Doesn’t that happen every year? We often find ourselves stuck in the same sad, hopeless situations: a stale marriage, rebellious children, a dead-end job, a failing friendship, the rut of a bad habit, or disappointment with our very own selves.
Last year’s resolutions didn’t help us to lose the weight, get involved with our church, finish that book or art project, gain that promotion, or help us find romance. It would be silly to expect everything to change just because it’s January 1st. But when will things change? If we are unable to keep one resolution for even a day, what are we to do? We are to look to God, because God takes His time with us. His calendar promises gifts, healing, goodness, joy, and freedom in HIS perfect timing.
1. God promises to give us our deepest desires. “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4 NIV).
When we focus on Jesus and make him the center of our lives, God will bless us with our deepest desires. These are not necessarily the things we think we want (though they might be) but rather the gifts God knows are best for us at a particular time. For example; we may wish for a new car, but God may give us a child to light up our lives; because He knows the child will be the greater blessing and help us to fulfill our potential and become more like Christ.
2. God promises a specific time for everything. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Eccles. 3:1):
Don’t let yourself lose hope just because your year hasn’t started out the way you hoped or planned. God is not limited to January 1st of each new year. He is in control on each and every given day, forever! He is working not only in our own lives, but in the lives of others. All of the events and situations in our lives are entwined with the lives of others; which God carefully orchestrates, in order to bring more people to Christ. Be patient as God does His good work! He can change situations for our good at any given moment. Give Him your heart, and let Him take control of the rest!
3. God promises goodness to those who love him. “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” (Rom. 8:28).
What great news! This means that even when our situations seem sad and completely hopeless; that God is turning the pages of our living storybooks, filled with twists and turns, and a surprise, happy ending! This is a good gift which can only be counted on for those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior. No matter what day if the year it is, we can trust God to work it all out for good!
4. God promises He will never abandon us. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (Jn. 14:18). No matter how lonely we are, or how desolate, afraid, or isolated we feel; God promises to never let us go. He will come to us right where we are; just as we are. As believers in Christ, we are adopted into the most holy, majestic family in existence: The Kingdom of God. The end of the story is no fairytale; it is absolute truth: a miraculous ending beyond our comprehension. We can look forward to this joyful ending every day of the year!
5. God promises us an inheritance in Heaven. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:3-5).
Our greatest reward is our salvation; the promise of eternal life in Heaven with Jesus Christ for all who believe in him and confess in his name. Just as we love to shower our children with good things on earth; God wants to pour out both earthly and heavenly blessings onto His adopted children. God is also storing up rewards and riches for us when we reach our final home in Heaven. He’s preparing a magnificent place for us! My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you” (Jn. 14:2)?
It’s difficult when we go through various trials and tribulations here on earth. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how we will be able to make it through another year, much less yet another day; especially when under the pressure to start off a brand new year on the right foot. But Jesus understands suffering, yet he knows joy; for he is Joy. Suffering as a Christian means we are one with Jesus Christ; experiencing some of what he experienced. Like Christ’s suffering, our suffering is not permanent. The Silver Lining is that our suffering will only add to more rejoicing as God’s ultimate promise comes to fruition: the return of Jesus Christ. We can have peace in suffering because God’s promises eternal joy which awaits us: “‘Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world” (1 Pet. 4:13 New Living Translation).
Instead of counting on a new year to change your life; count on Jesus Christ. Let him into your heart, and trust God with His perfect timing for your life!
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace” (Eccles. 3:1-8 NIV).
Forget resolutions… Run to Jesus!