A New Thing

As the new year rolls around each year, I feel an excitement about the days ahead– feeling as though a new, clean slate has been placed before me, and with great excitement, I rush to plan out events, set goals, and make lists of all the things I want to accomplish over the next 365 days. I like to take time to look back and take stock of the previous year and see what was good, what was not good; what worked and what didn’t work, so I can make changes for the new year. I make a list of the books I want to read for the year, a list of what projects and goals I want to work on, and what areas I want to see improvement in. All this is usually done with a lot of excitement and anticipation.

But this year feels a little different. I haven’t felt that same enthusiasm for the new year that usually sends me into list-making, goal-setting, planning mode. I haven’t done any of those things. I wasn’t sure why or what it was until I met with a friend a couple of weeks ago and she was telling me that she didn’t feel excited or motivated as she normally does for the new year. As she was talking, I realized she was voicing the same feelings that I was having about the new year that I hadn’t even yet realized I had.

As we talked about the reasons we were feeling this way, we both mentioned that the world seems so troubled right now: we have two major wars going on, there is division and strife everywhere, financial stability concerns, environmental concerns, violence and aggression are prevalent in our society. We concluded that the state of our world was causing us to not have great expectation and anticipation for 2024. So I thought, “This can’t be. I can’t let everything going on in the world push me into some kind of down-hearted, burdened state.”

Then a few days later, I was flipping through my Bible and I came across Isaiah 43:18-19:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

I felt right away that this was speaking to those feelings I had been having; like God was showing me to get my eyes off the things of the world and re-focus my attention on Him.

God is working in the world, but I wasn’t perceiving it. I had been allowing the cares & concerns of this world to seep in and overtake my awareness and it was causing me to feel a bit dejected and down. I wasn’t perceiving what God is doing through all the chaos and turmoil. I was losing sight of the hopefulness that is ALWAYS found in Him.

So, as I read and reread those verses, I determined not to let the cares of this world choke out the joy & the hope in the “new things” that God is doing. Whatever this year holds- the good, the bad, and the ugly of it, as we keep our eyes on God, He will supply our needs, make a way for us, help us, provide for us, and He promises to always be with us. He loves us with an everlasting love. So, I’ll make my lists and set some goals and look forward to this new year, remembering Who holds 2024 in His hands.

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