At times, God will call upon us to suffer loss in our faithfulness to Him. He rewards obedience but not always in the ways we expect or hope and not always in this lifetime. He is all-wise and still looks out for our greatest eternal good, even when He allows our unwillingness to cater to the pressure of people—pleasing to cost us dearly. Let’s also take caution not to get it in our heads that we’re not pleasing God unless we’re making everybody mad. The goal is pleasing God, not displeasing man. (Beth Moore)
Here we are at the end of 2020. There have been some good things happen this year, but they might be difficult to see among the rubble and chaos and oddities. There’s nothing magical about the year placed at the end of a date. The first day of 2021 will not take away the challenges of the last day of 2020. We might feel a breath of relief and the anticipation of hope, but life is riddled with challenges.
We do not have to simply react to the external influences we encounter. What happens within us is paramount. When we are intentional, we encounter the world differently. We respond instead of react. We see our challenges in the contact of God’s broader, eternal perspective. We don’t understand or like it all. We don’t embrace it all. But we embrace God. We look to him. We trust him. We seek him, connect with him, share with him, express to him, and praise him.
And that is how I want to begin the new year, not differently than the old year but with intention, anticipation, and humility.