Can I Find Hope in the New Year?
Have you ever felt hopeless when you look to the New Year? With Christmas now in the rearview mirror, what do you see in 2019? Are you filled with fear and trepidation or joy and anticipation? Our outlook for 2019 is likely to be strongly influenced by our experiences in 2018.
Maybe 2018 was filled with loss and sorrow and you cannot wait to hit the reset button. Or possibly 2018 was the best year ever and you want to hold on just a little bit longer. Either way, ready or not, 2019 will soon be here.
We are likely to be looking to the New Year with mixed emotions. Feeling...
Anticipation or grief
Celebration or pain
Gains or loss
What does this look like?
However, before making New Year’s resolutions, we should consider how our experiences in 2018 can drive our outlook for 2019. Where some are anticipating the birth of a new son or daughter in the New Year, others may still be mourning their loss of a loved one. While some are joyfully planning for their celebration of a wedding, others are working through the raw emotions of a divorce. Maybe you started a new job in 2018 while your neighbor was laid off. Between these dates on the calendar there will be both happy and sad memories that will impact our view of the New Year.
What can we do if we are feeling apprehension for the New Year? Thankfully, we are not left adrift in uncertainty for in the midst of these things the Lord provides us an anchor, a hope that enables us to stand and face our fears of an unknown future. The Bible gives hope to the hopeless by telling the stories of men and women who have overcome. How did they do it? Not by knowing what the future held for them but by trusting in the God who set them free from fear.
One of my favorite reminders of this is in Romans 8, “And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)” (23-25)
Our future hope, something that we only have a foretaste of now, is what enables us to persevere through the uncertain times of life. We can embrace an uncertain future with this eager hope knowing that there is something certain, eternal ahead of us.
This does not mean that our future will be without hardships or sorrows, but it does mean that we can now face tomorrow with hope and confidence. Isaiah declares, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) It is because of hopelessness that our hearts cry out, “I don’t have the strength to face this!” But it is here that we can hold onto the anchor of our faith that reminds us that through Christ the Lord will strengthen you, help you, uphold you.
In Romans Paul tells us, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (8:38-39) I don’t know what uncertainties you will face in 2019, but I do know that in Christ we possess an eternal hope that allows us to embrace the future with assurance.
My fear of the future fade away when I rest in the knowledge that the Lord is faithful and trustworthy. Hebrews 11 tells us that it is by faith that we are able face an uncertain future. There we’re told that it was by faith in God that we can overcome. Because, “No one can please God without faith, for whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek him.” (6) We cry out to God in faith knowing that he answers our prayers.
So how can we face 2019 and all the uncertainties that it may bring? By looking to the hope that Christ purchased for us – the eternal hope that give us new life.