NEW YEAR 2018
New Year is a time for looking forward. New opportunities, new challenges even a new start. A forward looking approach to life is good.
Yet for many of us, it is also a time for looking back. Some of us will look back at particularly happy events in 2017. For others it will have been a year of sadness; perhaps illness, perhaps the passing of a loved one. We sympathise with everyone who is passing through such painful experiences.
Reviewing the year is something that most organisations do – and a sensible thing it is. What have we achieved? What progress have we made? What lessons have we learned? Is there anything we could have done better? What changes must be made?
And looking back is good for all of us to do personally and individually. Drifting through life aimlessly, ignoring the past and muddling through is probably not the best strategy.
Whatever the future might hold, we all have a past. The Bible tells us that ‘God requireth that which is past‘ (Ecclesiastes 3: 15). The wise man who wrote those words had gone through a period in his life when he sought to find happiness and contentment in the things around him – material things.
It was a forlorn hope. Repeatedly, he described the emptiness of living without God as ‘vanity‘: ‘vanity of vanity, all in vanity‘ (Ecclesiastes 1: 2). He was simply saying ‘everything is futile’ – futile and without true purpose!
As you look back at 2017 is that how you feel? Solomon did. He also realised that he had to give account to God for the empty sinful way he had been living: ‘every one of us shall give account of himself to God‘ (Romans 14: 12).
Yet, just because someone has had a past does not mean that they cannot have a future.
How true that is!
It was Augustine of Hippo who wrote: ‘Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee’. The hope that God offers us is found in the gospel – in Christ. In the words of the apostle Paul: we can be ‘justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus … for the remission of sins that are past‘ (Romans 3: 24, 25).
Our past settled – our future secured – a new start in Christ!
Happy New Year!