Let’s be honest. In all the good we want to do, mountains we want to climb, giants we want to slay, and people we need to love, we are faced with a challenge. If we could view an accurate panorama of the last year, we might see that our God was too small.
Not in reality, but we try to solve too many conundrums on our own. Perhaps we give an obligatory nod to God while behaving as if He were distant and uninterested in the world He set into motion. So before we set our stride for the new year, let’s ignite our faith in the loving God who goes before, abides within, knows all, is unchanging in His desire for our greatest good, and has the power to execute His will.
Every day we wake up to a potentially paralyzing buffet of choices and trivial distractions. Like T.S. Eliot’s modern man who measured out his life with coffee spoons, we think we have “time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions.” We put off risk and purposeful living, thinking “there will be time to wonder ‘Do I dare? Do I dare disturb the universe?’ ”
This year, we need to dare. We need to dare to disturb the universe.
If we walk with God, we will do so.
At a Socrates in the City event in NYC, Malcolm Gladwell discussed his book, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.” Gladwell had wandered away from his faith, but returned while writing this book. He said, “Christians have a problem understanding how powerful their faith makes them. The things we associate with power are not as powerful as we imagine. ‘The weapons of the spirit’ – determination, faith, courage, perseverance – are equal to material resources and strength. That’s the point of David and Goliath.” Some theologians portray David as a type of Christ who defeated the enemy so we, like the Israelite army, can fight from the standpoint of victory instead of cowering in fear. The story of David’s faith in a mighty, faithful God that gave him courage to defeat Goliath continues to inspire.
After recounting a modern example of faith – the story of French Huguenots in the village of Le Chambon who offered refuge to Jews during the German occupation, Gladwell lamented that more Christians did not do the same. “If they understood the power of their faith,” he said, “more would have stood up to the Nazis.” The world needs to see that God is big enough to not only provide for our needs and bring joy, love and peace to our souls. It needs to see us show compassion, to ease suffering and pain, to offer relief during tragedy, and to boldly tell others the great news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What do you hope to accomplish in the year ahead? Are you considering the greatness of God or looking at human limitations? How might we think and act if we realized the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe? (Eph. 1:19)
I will end with a few year-end review questions:
- What needs to go? Who do I need to forgive? Let go of the past and travel lighter.
- What themes defined the past year for me?
- What people, books, accomplishments, or moments held the greatest significance?
- In the following areas, where do I need to grow ? What goals should I set? work, spiritual life, family, relationships, emotional health, finances, physical health, recreation/fun.
- What is the main thing God is leading me to accomplish this year and beyond?
- What pursuits are life-giving and energizing for me? How can I make time for these pursuits?
- How am I planning for the next five/ ten/ twenty years?