If you are like me and can look back over the last two years and say you are still happy & peaceful, I do not think we should only say we are grateful, but we must live our lives like we are. I have always been a hopeful person, but more than ever, I feel the need to live today because God has blessed me with it.
The older I get, the more aware I am of how much time I might have left on this earth. However, the last two years brought it home. Not only did we live in isolation the first year, thinking by the end of the year we would emerge happy and healthy, but we also entered a second year with the same challenges that kept us guarded and somewhat isolated as the year before. Then, just when we thought we were coming out of a pandemic, variations of a virus, we all came to know as COVID-19 began to show up in the form of Delta and Omicron. Our lives started to unravel again as we had to go back to measures that had already exhausted us.
In addition to the pandemic, we had to deal with other issues of life that could have quickly taken away our hope. For me, the last year brought about traumatic matters to my life. Friends who I loved and cared about deeply, without any warning, were no longer here. How could that be? Angel was only 28; Melanie was not even 50! Mike was still playing music and maybe 60! The loss of these precious friends and unique relationships caused the realness of how uncertain our time here is to set in. I still don’t think I have recovered yet. Anytime I experience a series of losses, I start to reflect on my mortality. I wonder if you also do. Mortality is hard to face, yet we all must meet it someday.
As we enter this New Year, I do not want to do so with a sad and depressing message. Instead, I want to offer hope. I want to remind you that today is yours if you are blessed to see it. Tomorrow is not promised, and we never know when it may be our last. And no matter what tomorrow holds, just be assured that God has tomorrow. He also offers hope. Despite all that happened during the previous two years, what I remember most are the beautiful things that happened in my life. I got a new job, another degree, a new home, and new friends. See? Even when we go through stuff that makes us feel helpless, we have to look for the other things God sends along the way. I bet you will find that you experienced as many beautiful things as you did of the other.
Whenever you need to lift yourself out of a funk in the new year, turn to the one source that offers hope to the hopeless, peace to the unsettled, and joy amid sadness. Do not look to your surroundings to be joyful; you will be lost. Look to God. Psalm 42:5-6 reads, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.” The Psalmist is saying, “I don’t care what state I find myself in, and right now it is in total despair; God is still my hope.”
For any challenges you face in the New Year, hold on to scripture that gives you hope. Tell yourself today is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad. Be intentional in the way you embrace the day. Someone may need you to lift them. May our God of peace fill your heart with love, joy, peace, and confidence that today is a day you choose to bless Him and others.