New Year, Old Way
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before [us] and prepares the way…Psalm 85:11-13
Every year is the same in terms of days and months. They can feel a bit like the movie, Groundhog Day, even, but rest assured, we have not gone this way before.
Is that prospect frightening to you? Because it can freak the heck out of me. But, guess what? I know Someone who isn’t at all frightened. In fact He’s gone before us both and even stands guard behind!
But you will not go out in haste, nor will you go as fugitives; For the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.Isaiah 52:12
So, I’ll give it to you straight… last year I seemed to fear everything! I think I was filled with more fear in one year than any combination of years past. Which is saying something. At times, I despaired of life.
Not knowing the exact why of my fears, I kept seeking the Father of my heart. Trying to dig up the roots of this deep, aboding fear with the Spirit that counsels. Sitting at the feet of The Word that became flesh in order to try and fight back against the spirit of fear and death with the Truth that sends fear packing.
Nothing really seemed to work though. I still felt gripped and nearly gave up in the battle.
Thankfully, today, I am way better. I got on some meds that likely helped my brain rest. This is a good thing and needed sometimes, but wasn’t done without much prayer.
Yet, the fear still beckons in this new year. Raising it’s ugly, threatening voice now and then. No longer one to stick around and clamp down, thank goodness, though its threats alone, however brief, can still cause me to shiver and stutter. Those threats can even raise a panic in my soul, making me think I will always struggle and suffer with fear in this life.
And, Y’all, I LOVE Jesus. I mean, I really, truly do. As much as I know how to, anyway. There is no other place I’d rather be than resting at His feet. Hearing His still small voice. Feeling His presence.
Like when Peter tells Jesus after He questions whether His disciples want to quit walking with Him as some others did… “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” [John 6:41-70]
There’s simply no place I’d rather go.
New Year, No Way
So why all the fear and doubt, then? Why this struggle in my faith and trust in Jesus? See, I’ve often heard that it’s a sin to fear. To worry. The Bible warns us against it, for sure, over and over… “Do not fear… Fear not… Be not afraid… Have no fear… Do not worry…”
But, over the years, I’ve likened my fear to something more like an idol or stronghold (Still sin. Ha!) Maybe because it makes me feel better to make this slight shift?? Anywho, fear isn’t as sinful when it’s simply something I depend on to strengthen and guard and gird myself against emotions and situations I can’t handle or control.
Some people keep busy or run to some habit to cope with hard things. Me?? I fear. Sure, I do some of the other stuff, too. But, fear? That’s my addiction. It’s my “habit in action” if you will. My brain runs on a treadmill of high-tension and hightened reactions or feelings. Fight or flight and then hide out and ruminate on all the what-ifs or heaven-forbids, so I can *think* my way through the hard.
But back to this new(ish) year lying in front of us and all the expectations therein. We have a whole twelve, err ten and a half months now, since I kept procrastinating this post(!), that we’ve never walked before, stretched out like a dark, winding road ahead of us.
Where we have absolutely no idea what’s in store! Fear producing, to be sure. Especially if your like me and this year could be anything like the last one! The pot holes. The crooked paths. The dead ends, stall outs, and start-back-up-agains. The hazard, warning, and stop lights, or gorgeous vistas, breathless moments, and detours we’re sure to nearly miss or miss completely. The highways, smooth sailing, or the ways we’ll choose that come upon every red light and Sunday driver possible. A trip you’ve longed to drive for forever, or the one you never wanted to take and can’t detour off.
Or, ALL of the above. Because it likely will be that way, given history.
New Year, New Way
We honestly don’t know, do we? The way this one year upcoming will unfold. What it will simply become. Because that’s the way of life, when you get right down to it. Life’s a big mystery. What we do know, however, is that something is coming and we have never gone this way before. We have never taken the path that moves through 2022.
Now, we certainly can make our goals ahead of it. Set our sights to ready and steady and better ourselves in anticipation. Plan to finally overcome, get over, or over deliver in areas we haven’t, as yet, been able. And, yeah, we should plan these things.
But what we shouldn’t do is leave The One Who planned for us to be alive in this very moment… this time and place and year… out of our plans for this unknown, unforeseeable, and invisible future.
That would be just dumb. Not to mention, rude. It would be like hosting a book club where the author of the book graciously chooses to show up, then leaving them completely out of the conversation in every meeting.
But, they’re the author of the story! You say…
And He’s The Author of ours!
He’s the One Who’s gone before us in all things. The One who created us and is familiar with all our ways. The One Who makes the very way in all our days.
The only One that not only knows all, but has the power over all. The One Who’s parted seas and calmed storms. Miraculously filled hungry tummies and healed diseases. Turned water into wine and promises a spring of water welling up to eternal life. Raised the dead and obeyed his Father, even unto death, for us.
And He is the only *thing* we can truly know when the way ahead is unknown. The One we can choose to trust because He has prepared a path for only us. The One we can lean upon when the way keeps dragging us, kicking and screaming, or barely crawling, along.
Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover?Songs 8:5
The One Who walks the whole way with us, when we feel we no longer can.
New Year, The Way
The One Who made a way to Heaven through His very life, will make the way for us when we have never gone this way in life before.
And friends, 2021 may be shouting loud behind us. Threatening that things will always stay the same or even look the very same forever. That too many mistakes were made and too much ground was lost, never to be regained.
And 2022 may stand ahead like a grumpy old troll, daring you to pass through in some grand and great leap of faith that demands it best look better than any year before!
Because that’s typically the goal, right? We’ve been taught that each year should be better than the last. At least, I often find myself demanding this very thing.
Yet we know life doesn’t work like this. It comes more in waves of good and boring and bad. You always know another wave is on its way, but you don’t know where, when, or how it will hit. Nor its size nor what it might bring or take away with it.
So instead of fearing the waves. Or expecting massively, impressive greatness and glory to come out of the waves, what do you say we simply decide to know the way of the Maker of those waves better?? Get to know The One Who creates such crashers of refreshment and riches and fury.
Get to know Him, not for the why of the take-you-out-waves or for the more of the perfect waves, but for His always good and perfect and best, whether we understand it or not, Way.
Yeah, and maybe the only commitment we make this year is to know better this wave Maker instead of the waves, because He, alone, always makes a way through each and every one. And if they do break over us, it’s only in order to remake us into His image.
So, let’s determine to ride and abide these waves of life, side by side with the One Who not only walks on and calms those waves, but has made the way through every wave that, up to now, has threatened to overwhelm and take us out…
Yet, here we are!
May 2022 be the year we finally begin to know better – and more deeply – not the ways to a better year or future, but the ways of The Maker of each wave we’ll ever face… of each way we’ll ever take… and of each and every other face we will encounter along HIS way!
Blessings to you in 2022!