Why is it that New Year’s plans never go the way we hope? For the Young Adult Group, our two previous years had us celebrating Christmas in February because of scheduling conflicts. As we have transitioned into 2021, we have yet to meet because of illness. So, as things go, our New Years have been consistently chaotic. Why is that?
Well, on one-hand, we would never want to get too comfortable, would we? As an illustration of Proverbs 16:9 (“The mind of a person plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps“), it becomes clear that even within ministry, we can’t plan our ways without acknowledging that God may lead our steps in completely different directions.
On the other hand, I believe that chaos in the New Year can be God’s way of reminding us that life rarely presents hard-resets. As much as we would have loved leaving the circumstances of 2020 far behind us in the rear-view mirror, 2021 came in full force with quite shocking events within its first week. So how do we cope with such a broken world that always seems to throw curve-balls when we desire comfort the most?
The first discussion of the New Year for the young adults will have us taking inventory of 2020 and looking productively at the lessons that God had for us, individually and corporately. Then, we will look with hopeful anticipation at the year that is ahead of us, focusing on what God is doing within and around us. If God has taught us anything in our lives, it should be that He never wastes opportunities to restore, redeem, and reconcile – even within the chaos of our lives (Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.).
So take a moment and ask yourself what happened in your life, good or bad, within the 2020 calendar year. What is it that you would want to keep the same? What is it that you would want to change? And – are you ready for this? Are you willing to let go of the answers to the questions above because God may have something completely different in mind?
This New Year (and the weeks that follow…), imitate the examples within the Scriptures in which God’s people set up memorials of what He has done. In your mind, set up your own memorials so that such a wild year may not be faced in vain. Moses said in Deuteronomy 8:2, “And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not”. Or even in Luke 22:19 – Jesus tells his disciples, “do this in remembrance of me…”. In both of these passages, as well as many others, God’s people are encouraged to remember difficult times, whether wandering in the desert for a generation or the murder of their Messiah – and yet not for the sake of the difficulty itself. He was reminding His people that, no matter how hard or chaotic things seem, He is the Redeemer (Isaiah 43:1b-2 – “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.). He is the One that cries out in the midst of our pain, “It is finished” (Psalm 22; John 19:28-30). Our Lord and Savior has redeemed us from our sins. He can certainly redeem a bad year…
We don’t know what 2021 is going to look like. It could very well be better or worse than the year that we have just traversed. But the one thing that we know for certain is that we’re still going to need and can always depend on our Savior. Simply know, and rest in, the fact that God is doing far above and beyond what you could hope for, even if chaos fills your vision. He does not stop working and He will not stop now.
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff