The Promise of a New Year

We don’t know what 2021 will bring, but there’s one thing we can be sure of.

Recently, as the world prepared to bid adieu to 2020, perhaps you saw one of those year-in-review synopses on TV. What a dizzying ride through the various medical, racial, financial, social, and political upheavals that will forever define the year.


Seeing 12 tumultuous months condensed into a rapid-fire recap made me think back to the previous December 31st, when I’d taken inventory of my life and felt reasonably confident about the approaching year: My accountant had reassured me I was in good shape—“barring something universally catastrophic, of course” (financial advisors always add that caveat); I faced no imminent health concerns; and the loneliness of widowhood was offset by frequent family get-togethers and daily interaction with a work team I love, not just for their competence but because they’re my friends. My community.

And so I naively assumed 2020 would be typical—some adventures, some challenges, a few highs, and hopefully not too many lows or scares.

If you’d asked me back then, I’d have said I was fully trusting in God. But now, thanks to an unrelenting pandemic, a teetering economy, and seclusion from life-giving relationships, I’m realizing my sense of security was, in large part, resting on shaky ground. Reading this lesson from Dr. Stanley’s 30 Life Principles Bible Study brought it into sharper focus:

Thanks to an unrelenting pandemic, a teetering economy, and seclusion from life-giving relationships, I’m realizing my sense of security was resting on shaky ground.

Some challenges you will see coming long before they actually hit. Others will blindside you with the suddenness of a lightning strike. Some challenges that may seem manageable at first will later reveal themselves as much more difficult and serious than you imagined. Others have the potential to turn your life upside down immediately.

Your walk with God is a journey of faith, and there will be situations in which your trust in Him will be tested … What will you cling to when a deluge of trouble rains on your life and everything you know to be true seems to be swept away by winds of adversity? What will you hold on to when the waves of doubt threaten to crash down on you? Where can you find a firm foundation when everything around you is sinking? The answer is found in Life Principle 3: God’s Word is an immovable anchor in times of storm.

And so, after being reminded about my true anchor of the soul—the one that is “sure and steadfast” (Heb. 6:19)—I took inventory again. Relying on something other than the tangible securities of life is certainly not always comfortable, but it is infinitely more reliable when that “something” is Jesus Christ.

So here we are, embarking on yet another year—a prospect that for many of us feels scary. But I am determined to follow the advice in “The Gate of the Year,” a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins:

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.”

Won’t you join me?


Illustration by Adam Cruft

Related Topics:  Faith

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19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,

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