After participating in the wonderful custom to greet one another with, "Happy New Year" these past few days we must settle into the reality that the new year is certain to bring disappointments as well as blessings and, sometimes, tragedies. Beneath our sincere and cheerful greetings we all know that life is a mixed bag and the best we can offer is hope that good things will outweigh the bad.
God also desires happiness and good things for each of us and toward this end, there are three things we are taught in the Bible that are especially encouraging. The 16th verse of the 139th Psalm seemed to jump off the page while I was reading a few days ago. "Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And, in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them." In other words, God knew every single detail of our lives before we were even conceived. All the good things and all the bad things. We are not just an accidental or random life form, but the Creator especially designed and planned each day and each year of our lives down to the smallest detail and therefore each life is considerably significant to God.
This leads to a second encouraging fact the Bible teaches. God has a specific plan and purpose for each one of us. Pastor Rick Warren elaborates on this theme in his best-selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life." His opening sentence is, "It's not about you." The point he goes on to make is, though each life has great importance, the world does not revolve around the narrow interests of any one person. We receive significance only as we fit properly into God's eternal master plan and purpose. In pursuing this purpose, we find meaning and happiness. The apostle Paul wrote about Gods' eternal purpose in Colossians 1:15-18. Referring to Jesus, he wrote, "All things were created through Him and for Him." All things were created for the glory of Christ, the glory of His power, the glory of His love, the glory of His grace, and goodness. This is God's eternal purpose.
The most encouraging truth of all is found in the book of Romans 8:28. "All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Notice the second half of the verse which is often overlooked. "to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." All who respond to the call of God and pursue His purposes in their lives qualify for this astonishing promise. God promises to make everything - even bad and disastrous things work together for their good.
These Bible facts taken seriously can change the pessimistic apprehensions we have as we face a new year. We can meet it with confidence and anticipation rather than with grave misgivings.
Pastor Gene Holman of Living Word Fellowship in Gardnerville is a member of Carson Valley Ministers' Association.