Well, if you are reading this, you not only survived 2020 with all its shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders, etc., but you also made it through 2021 and its many challenges. Now we enter into a new year, 2022, wondering what things it will hold for us in this crazy upside down world? One thing will be true of this year, as with all others: we must live just one day at a time and in Moses’ testimony just before his death, he encouraged the people saying, “…As your days, so shall your strength be” (Dt. 33:25 KJV). In other words, God will give us strength and wisdom for a day at a time. The Psalmist wrote: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psa. 118:24). Jesus told his disciples: “Do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Mt. 6:34).
The following quote from Henri J. Nouwen in Bread for the Journey helps set the tone for the year ahead: “Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.” That reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s words of encouragement to the believers at Ephesus: “Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:20).
Each day that God gives us this coming year is a new opportunity to see His hand at work, either through joy or through sorrow, through comfort or trial. But the variety of experiences that will come our way will provide opportunities to grow in Christ-likeness. We need to keep ourselves open to enjoy the myriad of events that will make up each day, realizing that the Author of the universe is the Orchestrator of all that comes our way. The One who guides the sun, moon and stars and keeps each in its place, is the One who helps to create the symphony of our days. And, if He feeds the birds of the air, clothes the lillies of the field, and even cares about each sparrow that falls, how much more will He care for us (Mt. 6:25-32). “As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him” (Psa. 18:30).
No matter what each day of this new year brings, for this we have Jesus! He has promised to “Never desert us or forsake us” (Heb. 13:5). We will have many opportunities to watch God take the good times and the bad and to mold us and make us and equip us to serve Him (Ro. 8:28,29). We can wait expectantly to see what great things He will do in and through us. So, we can begin each new day of this coming year with anticipation. God undoubtedly has some very special things in store for each of us as He prepares us for eternity.
And the best is yet to come. We have been “blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), and many of those blessings are yet future when we experience the inheritance awaiting us in glory, for if we are children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, we are “heirs also, heirs of God, and fellow heirs with Christ” and “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Ro. 8:17,18). Peter wrote these words of encouragement to those who had been scattered throughout the world because of persecution: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you; who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Pet. 1:3-5).
In other words, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are in a “win/win situation.” As the Apostle Paul wrote: “According to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:20,21).
With all these words of encouragement from God’s Word, we can enter this new year with great anticipation!