I don’t think that I’ve ever been more excited about the start of a new year than I am about this one. I have such hope! The difference between where I am this year and where I was last is simple but vast: my hope lies in Christ, not in me. I am not going into this year with a list of all the things that I think I should accomplish. My hope lies in what God will do instead.
My hope is strange because it isn’t rooted in anything that I know. In fact, I am nearly buoyant with the unlimited possibility that comes with this particular unknowing. God has given me no specific promise for the year, just the faith that I will meet Him in wonder and truth. I think that this is the fruit of the Cross in my life and my will, and if so, I thank God that it’s a daily occurrence.
The Hope Born in Surrender
“Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me — nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Luke 22:42 HCSB
Though I didn’t realize it, this verse has been my watchword for some time now. And I could never have picked a more appropriate one – or one more healing. With each new year, we are encouraged to envision certain changes in our lives. We make resolutions and clean sweeps and try to clean the slate in some way. It’s a time for reflection and planning. And for most of us, three or four weeks later finds us more or less back where we started with nothing but discouragement to show for our efforts. I’m so glad that won’t be my story once again!
The Lord has been dealing with my ideas, my plans, even my dreams. In each instance, the Spirit has brought them up for me to face and deal with before Him. There wasn’t a problem with my having them; the problem was with how I dealt with them.
Jesus is the picture of how we bring what we want to God. “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me…” There are problems that I want God to solve, issues that I’d rather not face, and conflicts in which I don’t want to take part. That’s just life. But it’s how I bring them to God that matters, because Jesus didn’t stop with what He wanted. “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” Jesus told His Father what He wanted, but then He bowed to God’s choice for His life.
When I don’t bow my will to God’s will after asking Him for something that I want, then I can easily end up at odds with God. I get hurt or angry with Him, but I’m the one out of order. God knows best what I need, when I need it. He is the Author of my story, my Father, my Good Shepherd. It’s not enough to pour my heart out to Him, telling Him all my hopes and dreams and wants. If He is truly my Lord as well as Savior, then I will surrender my will to His. “Not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Nothing But Hope When It’s All on God
Nothing But Hope When It’s All on God. That’s how I’m beginning this year. I’ve told Him my hopes, my wants, and my dreams, but I’ve also bowed to His choices for my life. In doing so, I’ve entered the rest that only comes when we’ve rolled everything onto God through surrender. And what a beautiful place this is!
I don’t know what this year will hold, but I know that I’m not dependent on my own efforts, my own strength, or my own intelligence. I’m free to be full of hope in the great wonder that is the ways of God. I can’t wait to see what He will do, where He will take me, who He will bring into my life, and most of all, how amazing it will be to meet Him anew in all of it. A blessed and merry New Year to us all!