We’re 9 days into the new year. Today, the excitement has largely worn off. Truth be told, the excitement isn’t what it used to be, say, five years ago. Five or six years ago, I’d have been enthusiastically looking for a “word” for the year and babbling about seasonal spiritual alignment—or something like that. Thank God I no longer do that. But there is still excitement, howbeit in a small measure. After all, one doesn’t get to enter a year twice. There is only one January 1st in any year.
As I have reflected on the past year, I couldn’t help but think of the uncertainty each year holds. The past two years have made that fact crystal clear to me. Each of those years started with big plans and expectations, and both years ended differently than I would have expected. And I don’t expect 2022 to be any different.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a definite word for the year. What if God were to reveal to me what the new year would hold? What if I knew beforehand all the major happenings in 2022, not just in my life, but also in my country and the entire world? Wouldn’t that be swell? Some days I think it would. But God has decided not to do divulge such information to his people. He doesn’t tell us what the next day would bring. And he doesn’t tell us what the next year would bring.
God, in his infinite wisdom, gives us uncertainty at the start of every new year. And with that uncertainty comes the opportunity to trust him every single year. Think of Abraham, that stalwart of faith. The writer of Hebrews tells us that “[Abraham] went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). I sometimes think of how difficult it must have been for Abraham. Surely an old friend must have asked him: “Where are you going?” I wonder how he would have answered. He probably would have said, “I do not know where I am going. I only know that God knows what he’s doing.” And his confidence in God propelled him towards obedience.
Shouldn’t this be our attitude in the new year? Every day in 2022 is really an opportunity to trust God and obey him. Every morning provides an occasion to build our confidence in him. We mustn’t bother with finding out his secret will. He will never tell us. We mustn’t worry about what the year would bring. That’ll be an exercise in futility. Instead, we must learn to see uncertainty as an opportunity to depend upon God afresh, to throw our concerns about our wellbeing on him, and to obey him in the middle of uncertainty.
May the Lord help us be like Abraham who, despite the uncertainty that marked his journey, “went out, not knowing where he was going.” And may the Lord teach us to be like Moses, who chose to concern himself with obeying the revealed law of God rather than spend his time speculating about his “secret things” (cf. Deuteronomy 29:29). Daily trusting in the Lord and obeying his word—those are resolutions worth making (and keeping!) this new year.