The turning of the calendar from one year to the next is traditionally a time of assessment and goal setting. We look back at what we’ve accomplished in the past year and think about what we’d like to see happen in the next.
We make New Year’s resolutions and set our minds to improve various areas of our lives, including the specific areas to which God has called us.
You might do this with your pregnancy help ministry, for example.
Perhaps you’re thinking about how many more donors you’d like to add to your roster in 2022, or how many volunteers you’d like to train, or some key staff you’d like to add.
You might be headed toward a new building or launching a program you haven’t offered in the past. Perhaps there is a new approach you are thinking of trying with regard to team development.
These are all good things. Taking stock of what has worked, or has not worked, is wise. Trying new ideas is courageous.
Still, I can’t help but wonder how our perspective would change if we were to shift our focus from goals, ideas and resolutions to prayerful reflection and seeking direction.
You know, like, going to God first instead of coming up with a plan for Him to bless?
Listen to the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” –Isaiah 43:19
This entire chapter is full of God’s reminders of who He is and what He has done for His people. He has created and formed them. He has redeemed them and summoned them.
He calls them precious and honored and reminds them not to fear, for He is their God. He is the One who has revealed and saved and proclaimed—He alone.
In verse 12, He declares that His people are witnesses of the truth that He is God. They have seen how He has rescued and delivered them, time and time again, from their enemies.
This God, who creates and forms us, redeems and summons us, values and protects us, who reveals and saves and proclaims, this God directs our attention to the new thing He is doing.
He is making a way in the wilderness, providing streams in the wasteland, to give drink to His chosen people.
He blazes a trail through the impossible and sustains us along the way.
You’ve seen Him do it.
You’ve heard His call. You’ve seen how He values and protects you. You’ve felt His loving, nurturing presence.
Sometimes, though, we get so caught up in what we’d like to accomplish for God that we forget this was all really His idea in the first place.
He’s writing the story in which we are the characters, not the authors. The life-affirming mission in which we are involved is His mission. We just get to participate.
So as you head into 2022, may I encourage you?
Spend a bit of reflective time considering what you have heard and seen and experienced God doing over this last year. Think about your ministry and recount how God has made a way for you and sustained you.
He deserves your thanks and praise for what He has done in the past—and He deserves your trust and obedience when it comes to what He will do in the future.
Recognize that God will do new things in 2022, perhaps some things you don’t even have on your radar yet. His creativity is endless, and His power is unmatched and unlimited.
Tweet This: Recognize that God will do new things in 2022. His creativity is endless, and His power is unmatched and unlimited.
It’s okay to sketch out some plans.
It’s even better to draw close to the One whose plan is always best.
Father, as we reflect on Your goodness over the past year, help us remember we are coming along on Your mission, not You on ours. You are the One who has given us intrinsic value. You have made us, redeemed us, called us and chosen us. Thank you for the incredible privilege of helping to save the lives of Your image-bearers. Lead each of us into the new thing You are doing in this season, whatever that may look like. We are yours, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.