Celebrating a new year feels bittersweet for me.
I know many welcomed January 1st with confetti, clinking glasses, and shared kisses. Some may have danced, watched Times Square, or cheered with laughter at a friend’s party.
And although I lifted a glass of sparkling cider with a smile, a sliver of fear hid just under the surface of my celebration. And behind the fear sat a sober awareness of all that may go wrong in the months and days to come.
Call it pessimism or realism, but the reason for my tempered outlook is simple: I’ve lived long enough to know real life does not always come with champagne and celebrations. In fact, sometimes it’s excruciatingly hard.
I’ve experienced years marked by parenting, relationship, and ministry challenges. I’ve known losses and disappointments, betrayals and rejections. Each one of those seasons felt like it might take me under. Moreover, in the past eight years I’ve faced three cancer diagnoses that left me with permanent physical disabilities and chronic pain. Although I celebrate the fact that I remain cancer free as of today, I know I have no guarantees about tomorrow.
And this includes every one of the new year’s 365 days.
While I’m committed to living with a positive mindset and outlook, I no longer harbor illusions about my ability to control how the new year plays out. Thus, as I look at January’s calendar, I can’t help but wonder what life will look like when December 31st finally rolls around.
Even so, even as I feel a sliver of fear crawl up my spine, I know I can’t let it take root and grow. In fact, I don’t want it to. Life is precious, and we have many reasons to lift our glasses in joy. I want to be the kind of woman who savors it, even when some days prove hard.
But how? How do you and I celebrate today even when there remain valid reasons to worry about tomorrow?
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
Romans 8:18-21 (NIV)
Friends, this is the only worry-proof way to face a new year without sinking into the fear of what may or may not come:
We must keep our eyes glued on God’s promised glory.
Although we have little control over the number or condition of our days, a day filled with God’s presence and our exceeding joy sits at the other end of them. Rather than worry over 2019’s tomorrows, we can live in expectation of God’s one marvelous guarantee:
One day, you and I will wake up to a beautiful tomorrow with Him. It’s a day that will never end, and it will deliver a joy far greater than any other. It will be a day that promises to redeem all the hard ones preceding it.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Revelation 21:4-5a (NIV)
This is our hope — the one Hope most worthy of raised glasses. Whether you entered 2019 sobered or celebratory, we can face the year’s 365 days with both peace and anticipation.
Because the One who made us is coming for us. And when He does, we’ll have every reason to dance and cheer.
One day, you and I will wake up to a beautiful tomorrow with Him. It’s a day that will never end, and it will deliver a joy far greater than any other. -@MicheleCushatt: Click To Tweet