So This Is the New Year

It’s the final day of 2012 and I gotta tell you: I welcome the new year. I eagerly anticipate 2013 even though I haven’t the slightest clue what it portends. 2012 has been a long series of fits and starts towards a finish line of clarity that always seems to relocate a few sprints farther than I’ve made it. Thankfully, though, my progress towards that finish line has been at least somewhat asymptotic: for once I know some things about God experientially, rather than just theoretically, and life has been so much the sweeter for it. Not perfect by any stretch, but exponentially better than 2011 in every conceivable way, believe me.

All the same, the post-Christmas blues struck especially hard this year, strengthened as they were by a sudden, powerful sense of, “Whoa, have I had my head up my own posterior for the past few years?” Context clues point me inescapably towards one answer: yes. As I survey where I am and how I arrived here, the follow-up questions flare up: seriously, what the heck are you doing? How can a person be so single-minded? Good grief, how pompous are you? How do you not recognize how arrogant you’ve been? It was a long time coming and I know that the suddenness of the feeling is my mind catching up to the facts. The blunt force of this recognition and the questions it’s raised have both been disorienting, and while I know that nothing’s been derailed by it, it still feels like that’s what’s taken place sometimes. It’s certainly provoked extensive inventory taking, in addition to frequent skeptical examinations of those inventories, and plenty of glib theologizing to minimize that train wreck feeling that pops up occasionally. “What will I do now? Where do we go from here?” I ask again and again, still unsure what square one even is or what the next step should be, but knowing something’s going to have to happen. I mean, how do you stand still after a wallop of reality like that? But I don’t want to have one of my classic asthma attack death-trip freakouts where I just run anywhere that isn’t here, trying to escape but getting nowhere, my manic craze amplifying as my lungs wilt and wither from lack of oxygen. I’ve determined to steer clear of such panicked flights and wait instead for wisdom and maybe even a few answers in due time.

Even with all this uncertainty, I am so solidly convinced that 2013 promises good things because I know whom I have believed: his diagnoses are never meant to humiliate and they’re never punches in the gut. I know that he doesn’t reveal his people’s folly and sinfulness to them in order to undo them; he does it to draw them towards healing and rest in the once-for-allness of what he’s already accomplished. So rather than trying to “make things right” (which, in my experience, almost always seems to backfire disastrously), I’m just trying to repent of all my stupid hubris and praying that all the wreckage it’s resulted in will begin to be cleared away through that root being severed. I don’t think I’m rose tinting the new year or pretending that a change of calendar will magically fix everything; I’m clinging to a savior who doesn’t only show his people the way to go but propels them on that way and ensures their arrival.

So here’s to the new year. May God bless you richly with deep satisfaction in Him and the abundant life He holds out for us all in Jesus.

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