Happy New Year! How did we get to 2023 already? I hope you enjoyed Christmas and had some special times with family and friends.
The start of another year is the time when many of us set goals, make resolutions, or choose a word to focus on in the coming year.
Often, I find that helpful. I like to plan and dream about what lies ahead. But, if I’m honest, as I stood at the end of 2022 thinking about the year ahead, there was more fear than anticipation. The last few years have brought so many unexpected and unwelcome twists and turns, and it has left me tired and anxious, fearful of the uncertainty. The thought of setting lofty goals or resolutions, or even choosing a word, just feels like too much.
I’m grateful though, that over the last week or so, as I’ve had a slightly quieter week and the chance to reflect, God has led me to various quotes and songs that have restored my hope for the coming year, so I thought I’d share them here.
I wish I could remember where I found the first quote I’m thinking of. It was in a blog post, but I can’t find it now. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the actual quote, but I can remember the point it made: just as the year ahead will contain unexpected challenges, it will also contain unexpected blessings. I tend to look at the unknown as a bad thing or as something to fear, but this was a great reminder that the unknown can also be good. Who knows what exciting surprises God may have in store for us in 2023?
Another thing that has encouraged me is the poem “God Knows” by Minnie Louise Haskins. The first part of it is quite well-known (at least in the UK) as it was quoted by Queen Elizabeth in one of her Christmas speeches. However, I don’t think I had ever read the full poem until now.
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.
God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.
Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.
Finally, here are a few songs that have encouraged me recently:
Christ Our Hope In Life And Death by Keith and Kristyn Getty
What is our hope in life and death?
Christ alone, Christ alone
What is our only confidence?
That our souls to him belong
Who holds our days within his hand?
What comes, apart from his command?
And what will keep us to the end?
The love of Christ, in which we stand.
The Answer Is Yes by Matt Maher
Where else can I turn
In these troubled times
When my joy is held by suffering
And sorrows last the night
The answer is yes, Lord
I’ll give you my heart
The answer is yes, Lord
It’s the only place to start
You’ve seen me through good times
You’ve held me through pain
You’ve heard all my questions
The answer’s the same
Always by Chris Tomlin
I will tell of Your wonders
Sing of Your grace
The God of creation knows me by name
The Lord is faithful yesterday, now, and always
I pray that you’ll be encouraged that, whatever we may face in 2023, we have a God who sees and cares, who goes before us and is with us.
May you know his presence and his blessing in the coming year!