When you really think about it, it doesn’t make sense for the New Year to bring hope – nothing has really changed – January 1st is just the day that follows December 31st. But right now, I am feeling all kinds of hopeful, it’s January, and I’m relishing it.
I’ve written time and time again about my struggles with my health and with my weight. November and December seemed to hold a magnifying lens to these problems, more than any other time of the year. Part of this was due mostly to the fact that, as a teacher, I don’t have any other time to go to the physician; a bigger part was a lack of faith in the Lord and his promises.
I was reading scripture the night of Christmas and ended up in Hebrews. I have read Hebrews 11 so many times – I love the stories of the “heroes” of the Bible – and yet, I seemed to have missed the significance of the first verse. It says that: “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen,” and this hit me hard. To reword this beautiful verse, faith is having confidence in things hoped for, and a strong belief in things not yet seen. I suddenly realized I have been fighting a life-long battle without faith. Here I’ve been, sulking about and feeling that I can never have victory because I didn’t believe that God could accomplish it.
The men and women of faith in the Bible didn’t just believe but knew that God would have his way in the end. They held tight to his promises and they put not just hope, but faith in them. They trusted the Lord and knew that nothing they could do could thwart His plans. When I think about myself in comparison to these men and women, I feel ashamed for doubting the power of the almighty God in something so small and simple as my daily battles. It’s amazing to me how long I have kept myself a prisoner to sin and hopelessness because I didn’t have faith.
So, while I’ve written about these things before – about wanting to be free and being done with these struggles – this perspective is completely new. I was writing in a hopelessness before. I doubted the Lord, and that is really hard to admit. But I know that in Christ, I will have victory. I know that God will fulfill his promises to me. And God has promised that I am no longer a slave to sin, but that Christ has set me free.
There really is nothing special about January. It just so happens that this beautiful, incredible, and seemingly simple revelation occurred just a few days before the calendar changed years. I know I have a long struggle ahead of constantly submitting to the Lord in faith, but I relish this new beginning – a beginning that just happens to take place at the start of 2017.