Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year's Longings

By God's good graces, I have a very diverse group of Facebook "friends." After living in 5 states in 3 regions east of the Mississippi and now calling a military town home, my Facebook "friends" are hard to define. They are: southern, east coast living, mid-western, conservative, liberal, Christian, Baptist, Catholic, Jewish, Atheist, married, single, re-married, grandparents, sorority sisters, childhood friends, Army wives, cancer patients, parents - We all have different hats we wear and titles we bear, at the end of the day however, these "friends" of mine have more than some level of relationship with me in common.

All of this grand intro is to try to preface my reflections of my Facebook news feed over the New Year's holiday.

Some of my Facebook "friends" couldn't be happier to see 2016 end. Others are literally scared to see 2017 begin. With the deaths of beloved celebrities, the results of the election and then on top of their own individual experiences, their views on the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new could NOT have been more varied.

Some Facebook "friends" wrote off making resolutions, while a precious few actually accepted the accountability of posting theirs.

A few Facebook "friends" looked back over 2016 and assigned last year a word to define what God had done over the last 12 months. A few others were bold enough to claim a word that they hope will characterize the next 12 months.

A couple of "friends" took the holiday as an opportunity to push their home businesses of life-coaching, dietary supplements, make-up and clothing lines. 

There were even a few scripture verses that kept popping up in status updates and memes:
-Isaiah 48:6 - "...I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known."
-Revelation 21:5 "...Behold, I am making all things new . . . for these words are trustworthy and true."
-Philippians 1:13 "...forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead."

(This last verse was actually part of the text my pastor preached out of Sunday.)

As I scrolled down through these posts of hopes and reflections, I noticed something. I couldn't help but observe that we all were longing for something more than what we had experienced in the past 12 months or feared might be waiting for us in the next 12 months.  We resolved by whatever inner-strength, personal conviction or even the Holy Spirit to make the new year, ourselves and our world better.

Regardless of our pasts, our titles, our beliefs - we all have a deep desire to see and experience the best we can. No one welcomes the obstacles that could make 2017 the worst or hardest year of our lives. We want the good and we hope for the best.

This longing in each of us is another of God's good graces.

It is a gift of His. He gives us this desire that we might long for and desire Him. It is truly a significant part of how He created us to long for and know our Creator.

The Philippians verse I typed out above says that we would strain "forward to what lies ahead." What is it that lies ahead? The next verse tells us. It is "the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." The verse after that one assures us that "God will reveal that also to you."

My prayer for you, for all my Facebook "friends," and for myself is that we would all receive that revelation and prize Him more than ever in 2017.

Jesus is our prize. Whether we acknowledge it or not, He is who we are all longing for in the new year.

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