Age gives you a different perspective on a lot of things.
When I was younger, the start of a new year was all about the possibilities ahead of me. What goals could I accomplish? Could I lose that ten pounds, get up at 5am every weekday, read 100 books in twelve months? So much potential for exciting things to happen!
To a degree, I’m still that way. I’m a planner. I like to look ahead, and see exciting things on the horizon. I enjoy the anticipation that comes from a fresh start, a clean slate.
Yet the years have infused my thinking with perhaps a tinge more realism. I’m not trying to be a “Debbie Downer,” but I think we get to the point where we’ve lived long enough to know that trials are part of life. None of us are exempt from them. I realize that March could bring a car accident, May might mean a serious sickness for a family member, we could face a big job challenge in July. There’s a lot in the year ahead that could make me apprehensive and even fearful.
As I was having some of those thoughts earlier this week, I came across this verse.
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” ~I Corinthians 2:9
In context, it’s talking about spiritual blessings. We can’t even imagine the mercy and grace, peace and joy that are available to us as we walk with God. His Spirit reveals truth to us as we spend time in the Bible. We get wisdom and discernment as we learn to live in that truth.
How I want those spiritual blessings this year! Those moments when I sense God speaking to me through a Bible passage I meditate on or a sermon I hear at church or a song that resonates with my current situation. I want to recognize His hand at work through answered prayer, realize victory over a sin I’ve struggled with. How sweet are those precious times!
[Sidenote: I read in several commentaries that in the original text, the end of the verse actually translates as “the things which God hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him.” Are we willing to wait on God this year to reveal Himself to us? Will we take time to “be still and know that He is God?” (Psalm 46:10) Or will we hurry right past that to follow our own plans or reach our own goals?]
Could the verse above also apply to endless treasures stored up for us in heaven? I certainly believe so! I don’t think we have any idea how glorious our home in heaven will be. Jesus is preparing a place for us that will delight His children.
But could the verse also have application to what God has ahead of me in 2018? I think it could.
Are we going to face some hard things this year? I don’t doubt it. And God is going to be there to walk through each one of them with us. If it’s that car wreck, sickness, or job challenge, He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) If we trust Him, acknowledge Him in all our ways, He has promised to direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:5, 6)
But are there also going to be some sweet, unexpected blessings that come into our lives? I totally believe that, too! There will be deep conversations with friends, a heart-to-heart talk with a daughter, the realization of a goal that my husband has worked toward, a celebration of answered prayer that’s been a long time coming. In little ways and in big ones, God has blessings in store that we wouldn’t even dream about today.
So as we finish up this second week of January, let’s focus on the blessings ahead of us. Let’s have a heart’s desire to get some of those sweet times with our Lord when He refreshes our soul. Then let’s go ahead and praise Him for all that He’s preparing for us, both in our lives here during 2018 as well as for all eternity.