A few days ago I came across the list of goals that I had made for last year. Some of them were things that I desired to do, resolutions if you will, and some of them were things which I had little control over. I guess these could fall into the category of prayers that I had for 2018.
In looking over them, some I could place a check next to and feel happy that this year was a ‘success’ in those places. And yet there were the others. The things which I didn’t do. The prayers that I am still praying, yet unanswered.
And if you are anything like me, that second list, no matter how long, can make you feel as though this is how things will always be. These things on that second list become experts and robbing our joy and stealing our hope. We long for something new, and yet we feel as though we’re always coming us a day late and a dollar short.
And for many of us, we see the heralding of a New Year as a way to bring about this something new. We can look around and we know that this is not the way that things should be. We just finished up Christmas, and yet the magic promised by a thousand new toys has already started to wear off. We turn on the news and something in us knows that the world is not as it should be.
And no matter how much we try things will stay this way. We have libraries full of book telling stories of men and women that have changed the world, and yet here we are. In a world still broken. We have seen people voted into office and out of office and yet the countries we live in still are not how we, or those people we demonize and forget are also made in the image of God and loved, want them to be.
This morning as I sat and read the last part of the last book I was reminded that this feeling is something I should have. I should see the brokenness in the world. I should have a longing that things aren’t how they should be. I should wait, and hope, and pray for something better to come. But the problem is that I so often loose sight of where that will come from.
In Revelation 21:5 Jesus speaks to St. John and tells him, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And this word does not mean to make a new thing. It is the word which means to re-make, or renew something.
When we are able to see those things in this world that are good. Those things which force even the most stoic among us to respond in joy or awe, we know that these things must be something worth saving. And to this end Jesus would respond in kind. For His plan is not to destroy everything and start from scratch. No, as with an old home that is falling down, He’ll save what’s worth saving while making the entire place remade.
But this also shows us that all of the things which we know, deep down, are not right will be removed. No matter who you are, we all know that thousands of people sitting on the boarder of any country scared to death is not the way things should be (no matter if you thing they should go back south or come further north, you know they shouldn’t have to be there). We should not be a people who have become dull to news of anger, violence, and suffering. But we are. We should not have to simply look at our own fears, doubts, depression, and anxiety and tell ourselves that this is how it’ll always be.
No! Something is wrong with that.
So on this last day of the year, look forward.
But don’t be as short-sighted as the rest of the world. Don’t allow yourself to believe the lie that a few goals written down will be your Savior. Even if they could, you’ll probably loose the notebook you wrote them in by Spring.
Look forward to that time when Jesus comes back to make all things new. Allow every acknowledgment that things should be different to give birth to a prayer to see all things made new. And not by eating more kale or hitting the gym more. (though those might be good things)
This new year let your prayer be, “Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus.” Let this be your hope. Work to make your life full of rhythms that speak to a world that you know things are not how they should be, but that you know that a day is coming when all will be set right.
Let 2019 be a year that you not only say that you believe that Jesus is coming back, but a year where people around you can see that you do.