January 2014. As usual, the arrival of a New Year is cause for deep introspection and evaluation. For many of my years I have made New Year resolutions, but not this year. As I look back over 2013, I realize that what I really need to do is to continue my efforts to live out several resolutions that I already have in place, at least for now. Even so, my time of introspection led me to take stock of the fact that life around me is changing quickly.
One example would be the rapid obsolescence of technology, especially in the last few years. In the past, the American public was concerned with identifying endangered species, but the current trend is to identify endangered technology. A few days ago I listened to Kathie Lee and Hoda discuss items on the 2014 endangered tech list. It didn’t take me long to realize that I still depend on several of the soon-to-be relics; devices like DVD players, alarm clocks, GPS systems and TV remote controls. It’s crazy to think that DVD players made the list when I’m still watching videos on my video cassette player! Ugh! I feel like I can’t keep up with it all.
Most of the endangered items are being replaced by functions now considered standard fare for the increasingly smarter, smart phones. Admittedly, I do own and use a smart phone. But being born in a pre-computer age, I have to work hard at keeping up with technology. I am afraid that if I don’t keep up with technology, the world will pass me by, and I will become isolated and disconnected from life around me. I see this happening with my aging mother and I am determined to do whatever it takes to keep my head above water where technology is concerned.
Like technology, life itself is ever changing. We might as well face it, life and change go hand in hand. It seems as if you can’t have one without the other. Undoubtedly, the year 2014 will bring many changes in all of our lives. Some changes will be welcome changes… new babies, weddings, long awaited vacations, work promotions, etc. But other changes will be painful, if not excruciating… betrayal and broken relationships, loss of loved ones, crushed dreams, unemployment, etc.
I know from personal experience that life as we know it today, can be completely different tomorrow. And change, even good change, can be very unsettling and stressful. So how do we hold on and hold our heads up above water when the waves of change are swirling around us and threatening to take us under? Does anything remain the same in our ever changing world? Is there anything that we can hold on to without fear of it giving way?
I read a catchy facebook post earlier today that said, “New Year, same God.” In our rapidly changing lives, it is comforting to know that our God never changes. Hebrews 13:8 says that, “Jesus is the same today that He was yesterday and will be tomorrow.” The Bible says that we can put our hope in the promise of Jesus’ unchanging nature… among many things, this includes His love for us and His plan to work everything in our lives together for our good (Romans 8:28.) And when we do put our hope in Christ, our souls will be securely anchored, even when the waves of change threaten to take us under (Heb 6:19.)
But for some of us, the thought of putting our hope in Christ may be easier said than done. I remember when I first encountered the word hope in the Bible. For me, putting my hope in someone or something other than my own abilities, felt like I was setting myself up for a major disappointment. I learned at a pretty young age that hopes and dreams can be crushed. But as I studied the Bible, I saw the word hope in a whole new light. I learned that the original New Testament Greek word for hope means a “confident expectation based upon a solid certainty.” As I started taking steps to put my trust in God, more and more I began to put my hope in His unchanging nature. And as such, I started to lean less and less into my own abilities and the fleeting things of this life. Putting my hope in Christ has served as a strong anchor for my soul through some pretty difficult waves of change.
This year, let us ask God to dissolve all our hopes into a single hope: to know Christ and to be found in Him. May this be a year of desire radically transformed, a deeper, truer, knowing of Christ as our All-Sufficient One.
What about you? As you face a new year, what waves of change are swirling around you? Where are you putting your hope? My prayer for you, as you embrace the New Year, is that all of your hopes will dissolve into a single hope in Christ: to know Him and to be found in Him.
Happy New Year!