Is It 2023 Yet?

I don’t mean to sound like a Debbie Downer here, but the start of a new year always depresses me.

There’s always so much build-up, so much hype and hope, like everything is going to be magically different the moment the clock strikes midnight on December 31. Okay, and maybe it is for a few days. Maybe you’ve made goals and commitments, and you stick to them for a week or two.

But, at least for me, it doesn’t take long before I start to realize that everything is still exactly the same as it was last year. Even if I’m making strides toward an admirable resolution, it often doesn’t change the bigger picture. The world is still a big, sinful mess. My world is still a big, sinful mess.

Maybe it is for you, too. When the calendar turned over to the year 2022, you found yourself still divorced. Still sick. Still struggling with addiction, loneliness, depression, or anxiety. Maybe a loved one has walked away from the faith. Maybe you have.

The dawning of a brand new year hasn’t changed the fact that you’re still waiting on God to do something. New year, same old blah.

I know I sound terribly pessimistic. But I think it’s hard not to be, especially after this past year. I remember having so much hope as we closed the book on 2020. Surely, we were DONE with the dumpster fire that was those 12 months. 2021 would be better.

Except, it wasn’t. Not by a long shot. If anything, we’re in a bigger pit now than we were then.

As Christians, we know our hope lies beyond this world. We know all things will eventually be restored and made right. But, here on this earth, as the pandemic rages on, divisions grow wider, our culture becomes more depraved, and the number of believers seem to dwindle, it can be easy to grow pessimistic. Yes, heaven is going to be great…but what about right now?

David had an answer to our negativity. In Psalm 27, he wrote:

“I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.” —verse 13

The ‘land of the living.’ David used this phrase in direct contrast to ‘the land of the dead’ or ‘Sheol,’ where the dead go, according to Jewish thought, to await judgment. In our modern Christian terms, he wasn’t talking about seeing God’s goodness in heaven.

He was talking about seeing it here. Now. In this day, in this age, on this earth.

David may not have been living in the time of COVID or hostile politics or riots over racism, but I can guarantee he was surrounded by overt sinfulness and rejection of the Lord, much as we are. He witnessed pagan barbarity, extreme violence, and abject poverty. He had every reason to despair about the world around him. And yet he declared that he was “certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.”

David wasn’t pessimistic. Nor was he only hopeful about the future, when he would be with God in heaven. No, he was hopeful about what God was going to do here. Now.

Oh, that we could have the same hope! It’s so easy to look at the world around us and give up, thinking our only light is the one waiting for us when we enter God’s kingdom. But His goodness is available to us now, here on this earth, if only we have the faith and heart to look for it. Not everything will be fixed, not every problem solved. You may end 2022 still in the same circumstances as you began them. But my prayer for you–and for myself–is that we vow this year to live with the certainty that we will see the goodness of God in the land of the living. That each day we will go forth in bold faith, sure that we will witness some aspect of our Heavenly Father working.

How do we do that? David had an answer for that too:

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Wait for the Lord.” –verse 14

I love the phrasing of this verse. “…let your heart be courageous.” To me, it implies a certain amount of release. Let go of control, of anxiety and fear. Release it. Instead, let your heart go to where it knows it belongs…to the hands of the Father, where it can become courageous and strong.

I’m choosing these two verses as my verse of 2022. I hope you’ll do the same. Let us not grow weary or discouraged by the circumstances around us, whether they be personal or the world at large. Instead, let’s relinquish control to God, allow Him to hold our hearts and give us the strength we need to wait on Him; secure in His hands, we will be armed with the faith to see His goodness here in the land of the living.

May your 2022 be blessed, friends.

2 thoughts on “Is It 2023 Yet?

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