Hope—When the New Year Starts Hard
On the very first day of the new year, there are aches pressing on my want-to-start-the-year-afresh heart. Holiday wounds to my spirit haven’t yet dissipated. Gut-wrenching news coverage continues relentlessly. A friend’s tears leak through the phone after she learned her daughter’s lifelong best friend lost her husband unexpectedly while he was on a business trip the week before Christmas.
Things around the house start breaking. Again. Haunting my holiday-tapped budget and any energy I might have mustered up to tackle the new year with fresh resolve.
Another year starting hard. How many others, I wonder.
How many women—strong women—are out there who feel a new year doesn’t mean a new year, just a continuation of last year with its wearying ups and downs?
In the midst of “happy” new year greetings and a zillion ideas for getting a fresh start with renewed goals to journal, exercise, eat well, be a better (you name it) blah blah blah, there are a whole bunch of us who a few days into the year feel like nothing has changed, and that nothing will change. That this year will be a repeat of last year—that the only difference will be the shapes of the bumps in the road.
Yet, I read this in the book of Matthew in my Bible:
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (Matthew 6:25-27, NIV).
Wait … what? Don’t worry about starving and homeless children? Don’t worry about my beleaguered bank account? Don’t be concerned about things like repairs to houses or cars (or any other necessary and ongoing expenses) or the throbbing physical separation of my only daughter and 9-month old grandson living in another country?
Turn away from every opportunity to be anxious?
Don’t question my value?
Exactly, Jesus says.
We are that loved.
And that is the answer to our broken hearts and possessions and families.
We are that loved, so thoroughly loved by a perfect Father and Savior that we don’t have to worry.
Imagine if your love for another person was perfect—that it never failed, that you could meet their every need. Wouldn’t you do it if you could?
You would. And God does just that for us. Yes, the world intrudes. We live with people who are nothing like us, cars and clothes and food break and erode and spoil, and all of it musters forces (daily) to shove our eyes off His provision. Our peace is attacked. Our value is questioned. When that happens enough from outside of our spirits, we take up arms and join the war, attacking our own peace and value with anxiety and worry.
Until we remember: we are that loved. Loved so much that God will bear our burdens, provide us peace when we can’t find it on our own, remind us that we are of value—to Him, to others, to the world—and He will take care of us.
We can try all we want to imagine that kind of love, a love that erases all worry, but we can’t actually succeed at it. So, we have to trust. God’s words in the Bible are given to us from His perfect heart. They are perfect promises that He is asking us to believe. He doesn’t require perfect trust; we have nothing perfect in us. Instead, He asks us for human trust in perfect love.
A love so perfect He doesn’t just long for us to be free from worry, but actually gives us the way to do it.
Because we are that loved.
You’ll also like Chutes and Ladders—Are You Trying To Work Your Way to God?, Beginning Faith: Walking This Life With Grit, Grace and God, and Building Faith: Growing in Your Relationship with God