wandering reflections on the new year

So… it’s been a year.

And if I had to describe 2021, I’d say it was certainly a ride.

At times, it seemed a crazy wild ride, with all the ups and downs and curly cues life tends to throw. At other times, it felt very streamlined, like I was rushing superfast toward an end goal, the scenery along the way turned into a blur, traveling so fast I couldn’t catch my breath. Thing after thing after thing kept me going, going, going. And then BOOM. All of a sudden, 2021 is over. And as I think back, I can see a lot of reasons why I’m ready to get off and start afresh.

At the same time, there’s another part of me that balks at the letting go and moving on. It’s the part of me that cherishes 2021 because it’s familiar and I got to know it well. It’s the part of me that fears the future, that needs to cling to life as I know it because change is exciting, but it’s also unknown – and for me, it’s inevitable. So much has changed and so much will change… and I don’t feel ready for it. To look to 2022 and realize that I will never be quite the same again when it’s through… and to realize that I fear that? – I feel like a wimp sometimes.

What a discouraging way to start a post. Frankly, I have been discouraged about the New Year and life in general, if you couldn’t tell. But even as I type these thoughts, as I think them often and worry over them, by the grace of God one word comes to mind.

Remember.

Remember who it is that holds 2022 in his hands. Just as he held 2021, and 2020, and 2019. Just as he holds my life, my family, my friends, the universe. Just as he has held it all since before time.

Remember his goodness. Remember his sovereignty, his providence. Know that he is God. Holy and just. Beautiful and majestic. Infinite and transcendent. Seated on his throne, above all things and yet… imminent. Near to those who call on him. Faithful. Merciful. Kind.

Remember that he is God, and that out of the overflow of his nature he cares. He cares for his children. He has made me his child. So he cares for me.

Remember how in my darkest hour, when I wished I never existed but was too afraid to wish more, he met me where I was. He brought me to my knees and lifted my eyes to see that it was not my hands that worked for his acceptance, but his hand of grace that had already won it. It was never about me. And what a beautiful thing that is. To know at last that he is the treasure my heart longs for, and that grace has made him my own.

Remember that even as I go through the times that are hard, even as the twists in the road make me want to cry in frustration, even as I fight laziness and fear and pride, he has not forgotten me. Before the creation of the world, he wrote the pages of my journey. He promises to never leave me or forsake me. And he is the God who keeps his promises.

Remember last year in all its hardness. Think back on all the struggles, the discouragement, the loneliness. But also remember that the same God who spoke to Moses in the burning bush, who gave Solomon wisdom, who fed thousands from a few loaves of bread, who raised his Son from the dead, and who is coming again – he was at work in me last year. And he changed me. He matured me and grew me in ways I had not anticipated, in ways that were difficult and painful, in ways perhaps I had not wanted at the time. He changed me.

Remember that he has not stopped his work, that he is changing me even now. And his way of changing me is what I need to become like Christ. He will carry his work to completion. And when that day finally comes, when my faith is turned to sight, I will praise him a thousand times over for the wisdom of his work in my life. I will praise him because he was right all along – through every path he took me, he knew exactly what he was doing. So even now, I will praise him. Because even though I cannot see clearly, I know that he is worthy of my trust.

Remember who it is that holds my life in his hands.

Remember God.

Because if this same God is my God, and if he holds my life in his hands, then 2022 will be a year worth living.

I didn’t intend to write this post the way I did. But somehow, one thing led to another, and all of the sudden, I found myself preaching… to myself. I guess when a body’s down in the mouth, it’s all we can do. Remind ourselves of the truth. Wherever you are in your journey, my friend, may God’s truth be the anchor for your soul, and may the knowledge that he is at work in you fill your heart with joy.

Here’s to a new year. And may our God be glorified in it.

Cover photo by Jeremy Cai on Unsplash

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