Dec. 29, 2011

If Only 
by Sarah Jennings, Crosswalk.com Family Editor

He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
Revelation 21:5

I’ve never known anyone that claimed New Year’s was their favorite holiday. The media shows flashy images of jubilant crowds forgetting their cares as they count down until midnight. After the ball drops, lovers kiss, friends embrace, and the partying continues into the wee hours.

In various real-life conversations, the consensus seems to be: New Year’s isn’t quite as fun as the TV makes it look. Many note the anti-climactic nature of this holiday, and have foregone the party scene for quieter evenings that may or may not last until midnight.

I think New Year’s brings so many mixed emotions because New Year’s (and birthdays) remind us that we are creatures limited to time. With the passage of time we not only sense our mortality, but most of us have accumulated personal losses or regrets alongside our precious memories. And time's indifferent, methodical nature does not allow us to go back and have a redo.

In a conversation last winter, a friend shared a perspective on time and eternity that really changed my approach to New Year’s. A wise pastor once shared with her, “We struggle with time because ultimately our souls weren’t meant for time. Our souls were meant for eternity, in relationship with an Eternal God.”

Although I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the logistics of eternity (what is it like to have no beginning and no end?), my friend’s comment gives me hope. Our linear existence is not “it.” This, of course, doesn’t mean we can approach time in a careless manner. Certainly God, the Creator of time, cares how we spend it. But our discomfort with the passage of another year points to a God who is bigger than the limitations of time and who loves us enough to prepare us for a day when we will no longer be bound to its limitations either.

But what of the regrets, the wrongs done, and the losses? These things seem set in stone, and like real stones they often weigh on us in our attempts to make fresh starts.

In the book of Revelation, we see that God, from His throne, continually makes all things new (21: 5). Once again, it’s kind of hard to wrap your mind around a God who is bigger than time, Who can bring good out of a past we no longer have access to. But our pasts and all the failings and imperfections contained in them don’t faze a God whose goodness knows no bounds. Although we are limited, God’s grace is not.

When I look at it this way, I have to ask myself: “Why would I, a creature powerless to change the past, want to hold on so tightly to it? Why not give it to the One who can actually do something about it?!”

Can you hand your past over to the Eternal One in the coming year? Are you willing to surrender your present and your future as well? I know this without a doubt – surrendering your life to God is something you’ll never regret.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Enjoy a peaceful New Year’s Eve knowing the future is in God’s Hands.

Further Reading

Psalms 96:1
2 Corinthians 5:17
face the new year without fear, by Adrian Rogers