A New Year means a new start, a step out of the known past and into a fresh, but unknown, year ahead. So what will this year bring? You may already have a diary punctuated with commitments, important events, significant birthdays and, even some hopeful holiday plans, but, in spite of that, the year ahead contains much that is still unknown.
Life contains many new beginnings. Often we can plan for a new start, and even prepare for some of the changes it will bring, but there’s always an element of the unknown in something new and different. The start of a New Year, that new relationship, the new class at school, the new job, or even a new home. It seems natural to feel apprehensive, because we find the unknown challenging. The truth is we like what we know, and maybe would sometimes prefer to stay in our old rut, even if it isn’t a very comfortable rut.
Some new beginnings are sudden or dramatic, but none more so than the new beginning that our verse from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians promises will come one day. Only God knows when the final trumpet will sound, but it shouldn’t be a matter for anxiety. It’ll be a wonderful new start, which God has planned for us. However, the problem is we just can’t imagine what it will be like; a new eternal life with the Lord, and in a new and immortal body. How can we grasp or begin to imagine what that will be like, from our limited earthly perspective? It’s all so unknown!
Recently I read a poem, which was an imagined conversation between twins inside their mother’s womb. They were discussing what ‘life after birth’ would be like. They were reasoning that it would be difficult with no umbilical cord to feed them, no warm liquid to comfort them and support them, and how would they be able to relate to their mother from outside instead of inside. In fact, they eventually surmised, “How can we be sure that there is life after birth at all?”
Of course, what they couldn’t see is fully obvious to us, from our viewpoint. The wonderful potential benefits of their life after birth was exactly what they were being prepared for, and that life, (which they couldn’t even imagine), is, in fact, a life full of delights and wonderful opportunities. What they imagined would be lost was nothing in comparison to the immense gains and potential of life outside the womb.
I wonder if this is a bit like us. How can we understand a life that we’re being prepared for, with God, in eternity? It seems as if we’ll lose so much, but what’s promised is something so much more than we could ask or even imagine. Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us, so we can be sure that we’ll move into something that’s perfect for us, and we won’t lose any benefits. What we will gain is even more of our God-intended life.
Prayer: Father, as we start this New Year, with all its unknowns, we want to rest in You, and in the certainty that You’re with us in every new situation or unexpected challenge. We may not know what lies ahead, but You have a plan, and Your plans are always for our good. Please continue to prepare our hearts during this year, so we’ll be ready for that final new beginning, whenever it comes, when we’ll be changed to immortality. We pray this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
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