After pushing through this morning's sleepiness, one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind was how each new year is a gift. Each year we're given the chance to start again. It's fresh, full of hope, ripe with possibility.
For some of us, we need a fresh wind of hope, especially if 2013 was marked by challenges or hurts. I have friends who have experienced the gut-wrenching unexpected loss of a child and a young husband, friends who have dealt with the sorrow of a miscarriage, friends who have coped with extended unemployment. Even if your hurts weren't as severe, last year might be tainted with the ache of disappointments, broken relationships, embarrassment, or failed goals.
For others, 2013 rolled by neutrally -- more blah than bad. When you think about the year, nothing stands out: neither traumas nor triumphs, just the status quo of everyday life. Nothing was exceptionally wrong, but perhaps nothing was exceptionally right, and you're left feeling bored or unfulfilled.
Still others might have had a banner year that was full of joy and good experiences, memories that you savor, goals that have been met, and relationships that are thriving.
Regardless of last year, this is a new day. This is a new year. God already has surveyed the landscape of the days that lie ahead, and He knows what we'll face. He knows the uphill climbs we'll encounter, the highs we'll experience, the lows that will bring us to our knees.
I'm so comforted to know that God will walk with me through 2014, as always. I'm not alone. This morning I prayed that I'll see my circumstances, whether good or be bad, as factors that will build my character and draw me closer to Christ. If God is working to make me more like his Son, then nothing can happen to me this year that escapes his notice. Nothing can separate me from his love.
The God of yesterday, today, and forever tells us, "Behold, I make all things new."
It's a do-over, a calendar flip, a fresh opportunity, and I'm looking forward to the journey. Happy New Year, my friends.