I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but I was so glad when 2020 ended. So much had happened that year; so much had changed in ways I never would have imagined or planned. Friend, it got to the end of 2020 and I was SO ready for the year to be over.
When the clock struck midnight at the beginning of 2021 we clinked our glasses and watched the fireworks ring in the new year, and I was so excited. In my mind, 2021 was kind of like 2020: the re-do. I was kinda planning that everything that had gone wrong in 2020 would go right now that it was a new year. But fast forward one month and we’re back in lockdown. Sound familiar? The year was underway but it was clearer than ever that the problems that had become all too apparent over the last twelve months were just as real as ever. Forests were still burning. People we still hurting one another. People lost family and friends to the virus, and others saw yet another year go by without being to hug their loved ones.
I’m not saying that 2021 was a bad year by any standards, but it certainly wasn’t the year we expected. Looking back, I think there is a very important lesson that can be learnt from that. I think we can learn that there is beauty and growth and healing in the unexpected. I think that we can learn that our plans might not always work out but that the alternative might not be so bad after all. And I think we can learn too, that God never leaves us, that He has a plan and that He works in all things for the good of those who love Him… even if it doesn’t seem all that obvious at the time.
I once heard someone describe something as being ‘nothing they’d planned for but everything they’d prayed for’. I’ve been thinking about that recently and I think the same could be said of 2021. See, I had all these hopes and plans and dreams and I’d set goals and methods to come up with ways to make them happen. But in the end, so few of those things actually worked out. Instead, many of the things I saw happen in my life were, in one way another, things I’d prayed for! Often, I didn’t even notice it at the time, but looking back across the year I can see how God’s plan was so much bigger than mine and how He worked everything in my life according to HIS plan, not my own!!
If I’ve leaned anything from reflecting on this past year, it’s that God’s plan is going to be the one that prevails, not my own. His plan for my life is SO much better than anything I could ever dream of. That doesn’t mean that all the things He has planned for me, or even all thing that are going to happen in my life, will necessarily be ‘good’ by my standards, but that does mean that when I live life God’s way and according to His plan, my life will be fuller than it ever could be without Him.
I don’t know where I’m going in 2022. I don’t know what’s going to happen or where I’m going to end up. Sure, I have plans- plenty of them-but if last year is anything to go by, this next one will be nothing I’m planning for. But whilst I might not know where I’m going this year, I do know that God will be with me throughout it all.
Friend, this is only the begining. The very begining of the new year; the dawn, if you will. We may not have known the plans He has for this year, but He sure does, and He will work them out in ways far better than we ever could plan. With that knowledge, we can go into this new year confident that wherever we go, He will be with us.