IF I WERE TO GO BACK IN HISTORY IN A TIME MACHINE, I would double check the settings to make sure that I would never have to experience 2018 again, because that darn year will rank as probably the worst year of my life. That’s why I am looking forward to 2019, and you should, too.
We celebrate each New Year as an opportunity for a new start, a fresh beginning. Whatever last year was, it is now over. Out with the old and in with the new. Can someone say “Amen!”? I can guarantee you though, that this will be a great year, a wonderful year, the best year ever, if you hold to one condition: Understand that God is in control of everything that happens in your life. If you are able to accept that God’s sovereignty over every aspect of your existence, and every circumstance under Heaven, then you will have the great privilege to thank him for all the stuff that will happen in the coming months. After thanking him, you can then praise him as well.
Maybe you struggle with the whole notion that God is in control of the good, the bad and the ugly in life. Perhaps you are not sure exactly what believing that God is sovereign even means. I like this definition put out by the Christian ministry Got Questions.org: “The fact that God is sovereign essentially means that he has the power, wisdom, and authority to do anything he chooses within his creation.” The Bible states it more simply: “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.” (Ecclesiastes 7:14) If that doesn’t convince you, how about this? “The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.” (Psalm 135:6)
Now that we have established that God is large and in charge, no matter what happens, you can now thank him. “What? Thank him for what just happened to me? You have no idea how much trouble I’ve experienced!” The Bible says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) If you have a problem with doing that, then you really won’t like the two preceding verses: “Rejoice always, pray continually….” Why in the world would you rejoice always and pray continually? Back to the first point: because God is sovereign. If you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, whatever he allows to happen in your life, or makes happen in your life, is for your good and for his purposes. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Knowing all that, you can now praise him! What does that sound like? Read Psalm 145, a Psalm of praise. Here are a few excerpts: “I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.” (Vs. 1-2) Why would the Psalmist do that? Because… “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” (v. 8) Also, “The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” (Vs. 13-14) Don’t forget this as well: “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (v. 18) Good reasons to praise him, huh?
My favorite dead pastor, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) wrote: “Look to the past and whether through poverty, wealth, sickness, or health, whether at home or abroad, or on land, sea, or air, and whether in honor, dishonor, difficulties, joy, trials, triumph, prayer, or temptation—“Thus far has the Lord helped”! (1 Samuel 7:12)
“Look to the future and there are still more trials, joys, temptations, battles, defeats, victories, prayers, answers, toils, and strength yet to come. These are then followed by sickness, old age, disease, and death.
“Then is life over after death? No! These are still yet to come: arising in the likeness of Jesus; thrones, harps, and the singing of psalms; being ‘clothed in white garments,’ seeing the face of Jesus, and sharing fellowship with the saints; and experiencing the glory of God, the fullness of eternity, and infinite joy.”
Wow! I take it all back. In retrospect, 2018 was a wonderful year because God was in charge of it and thus far, he has helped me. Thank you, Lord. I will praise you for you are an all-wise God!
This is why 2019 will be the best year ever! And every year thereafter.
Happy New Year!