We experienced a tough year during 2021. Not only did all of us experience one or other challenge caused by the pandemic, but we were tested by a changed “normal”, in Church, at work and even in our family-lives.
Ministry was challenged by more than the secular culture as in previous years, but by state forced changes in the way we conducted church and worship and koinonia. Many lost jobs and livelihoods. Many lost loved ones and life-dreams.
So how should we think about a new year, while many things have not yet changed than 12 months ago.
Let’s agree that we should still dream at the beginning of a new year - not only about our own needs and opportunities, but certainly also about what God wants to do and can do through our lives and faith communities.
What we have learned during 2020 and 2021 it would be important to take note that what we want, and what we need, is often noy the same thing.
In faith I know that God determines what is best for me. It is not always easy to accept that the Lord thinks that I need other things than what I want, and that in his love, he knows what is best for me and not to have many of the things, changes and opportunities I desire and even pray for.
In his letter James writes in 1:16 - 18: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the Word of truth that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.
What God gives is his holy Word of truth. What God gives is good and wise insight into what we need in order to enjoy contented lives. What God gives is what we need to make a difference in his work and his Kingdom. To dream how to accomplish God’s vision for me and for his people could be the biggest vision I may ever have.
Yet, it never excludes my personal needs. (Matt. 7: 1 – 11)
Jesus said: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
We need what things will be good for us and when God grants them, they will be more than good – they will be perfect for us in all circumstances! But do we understand the difference between what we need and what we want, and that the Lord firmly promised to give us what we need?
Trusting God to decide what would be good and perfect gifts for us during 2022 will bring us peace of mind when considering the year ahead of us. Beyond our desires and frustrations, our challenges and our anger, the truth remains that God does not give snakes and stones when we need fish and bread.
May we, here at the beginning of a new and truly uncertain year, pray that the Lord who knows what is best for our lives will, as in the past, grant us what we need.
That he will grant us to be at peace with it! And that our LORD will surpass our best dreams during uncertain times.
And once we know our Lord does what is best for us, may we resolve to only do our best for God’s work, every day of this year!