Minister’s forum: What does the new year hold?
As we turn our mental calendars from 2005 to 2006, many of us entertain the question, “I wonder what the new year holds for me?”
We reflect on the past year with its surprises, some good and some we didn’t like at all. We hope that the new year greets us with varying forms of prosperity, health and happiness.
I will turn 60 in 2006 and they say “with age comes wisdom.” But I have gleaned enough wisdom to know that overly optimistic expectations of any given year are likely to be leavened with good doses of reality. I still hope for the new year to hold health, prosperity and happiness, and at least a minimum of negative surprises. But my expectation, seasoned with years, no longer stops with the questions, “I wonder what the new year hold for me?” I know that there will be joy and pain, blessings and challenges, good news and bad. My seasoned realism now asks the question, “What do I hold for the new year?”
There is a saying among Christians, “We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.” This statement is absolute bedrock truth, Jesus Christ is Lord of heaven and earth and in spite of the uncertainties and variables of life in this fallen creation, He will reign as Lord in the midst of whatever the future holds. But there is a big “if” in the midst of all this. To be rightly related to Him requires that my heart is centered in trust, love and obedience.
I will have little control over many of the circumstances I face in 2006 and absolutely no control over some of them. But I do have some real control over the condition of my heart and mind. God has given the stewardship of these to each of us. “The preparations of the heart belong to man.” (Proverbs 16:1) “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, for he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)
What “I hold for the new year” is answered by examining the condition of my heart. Have the hardships, hurts and disappointments of the past filled my heart and mind with poisonous spirits of anger, frustration or depression? Has the unending uphill fight of life’s demands left me tired, pessimistic and negative? We are the stewards of our hearts and minds and cannot solely rely on relief from the outside.
He who holds the future also holds us. For those who have opened their hearts to Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within, ready and able to heal and free us of whatever we will allow Him to. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) So what I hold for 2006 depends on “what” or “who” is holding me. If I am diligent to examine my heart, bring every negative thing to Him, He will repeatedly impart the truth and grace necessary to set me free and allow me to live out of an abundance that only flows from His life. This is the best way to enter 2006.
-Terry Edwards is pastor at Lake Tahoe Christian Fellowship.
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