This week the media has been filled with axioms and advice for success and prosperity in the New Year. If I promise not to make reference to “2020 Vision” or anything of the sort, will you allow me to add just one? It’s actually an old one—from the Old Testament of the Bible. Good counsel from Jeremiah the prophet that has been a source of encouragement and hope for many centuries. I love the quiet confidence in this direct statement of God’s care: “‘For surely I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
At the beginning of a New Year, it is good to know that God has a plan. That this plan is for our benefit and good. That this plan includes our welfare and safety. And that this plan infuses our future with hope.
Life, like time itself, is always moving forward. How comforting to think that God seeks to take this journey with us. Life brings difficulties. There is strength in knowing that we can seek God’s help in times of crisis or trouble. A year from now our lives will be much different from what they are right now. The promise of Jeremiah is that we can embrace the uncertainties that each new year brings with this one absolute certainty: that God is present in our daily life, and that His plan is for our welfare and benefit.
Contemporary writer Anne Lamott puts just the right spin on it with these words, “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. It can be received gladly or grudgingly, in big gulps or in tiny tastes.” (Anne Lamott, in Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
Big gulps and tiny tastes! Isn’t that just what we need? A God who is with us for the big moments but also for the small ones. A sense of the divine presence in both ordinary and extraordinary times! Someone whose love is big enough to fill the world and small enough to fit into my own heart and hand!
May we each be more aware every day of God’s great care and presence in our lives.