Well, here we are again. Another year has passed, and a new year dawns before us. This time last year, as we put the challenges of 2020 behind us, I wrote these words: “[A]s we stand on the brink of a new year, we can only hope in faith that the coming months will bring goodness, peace and healing to wash away the harsh memories of the year gone by.” In some ways, that hope has been fulfilled, but 2021 supplied a few more doses of hardship to our world, our community and each of our lives.
So, how should we look forward to 2022? Is it foolish to expect better things? Should we buckle down for another rough year? It’s honestly hard to know what to expect or hope for. With that in mind, let me offer four New Year’s wishes that embrace the tension of our time.
As we hope for a better year, let’s also seek after God’s power that is made perfect in weakness. Whether life is easy or hard, whether we feel blessed or burdened, it is always God’s strength that sustains us. Perseverance comes through the Holy Spirit and may be the most valuable blessing God can provide to get us through daily life in this broken world. We hope 2022 will be a great year filled with good news and sunshine, but if it’s not, we can still rejoice knowing God’s power never fails.
[The Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” … That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
As we plan for prosperity in the New Year, let’s also learn the secret of being content in every situation. How about that for a New Year’s resolution? I will learn to be content no matter how the coming days unfold. The secret, of course, is to lean on God’s strength and to trust in His provision rather than expecting the things of this world to satisfy our hearts.
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:11-13
As we wish for a “return to normal,” let’s also ask God for peace that passes understanding. Do you feel anxious about the uncertain future? If so, you are not alone. We face many challenges that could easily derail our lives and send us spinning into despair. But God offers us peace, even in the midst of sorrow or difficulty. We can’t fully understand or explain it, but when we feel peace in our souls, we know it could only come from the God who loves us more than we deserve.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
As we dream about a year filled with happiness, let’s also set our minds on things above. God doesn’t promise us happiness in this life, but He does promise that our resurrection life will be better in every way. Sometimes making the best of hard circumstances is all we can do, and we should never forget to look up and look ahead. Eternal life with Jesus will be more glorious than we can imagine. That is the future we should set our hearts on.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. – Colossians 3:1-2