Do you dread or look forward to a New Year? Does it fill you with regrets from last year, or does it bring relief that the new can come? We are hard on ourselves as humans. We see what is so wrong with us and so wrong with the world, and we get discouraged. There is a lesson to be learned from creation about opening your heart to the New Year.
Romans 8:22-25 gives us a great perspective about how to hope in the New Year.
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
The whole creation has been waiting as in the pains of childbirth, too. The whole creation groans for a newness, a new year, and being made new. It doesn’t have a calendar to mark off time; it simply waits for what it groans for. Since most of the creation, rocks, mountains, trees, have no cognitive abilities, I’m not exactly sure what it means for them to wait I do see the eager expectation of the creation in my house pets. My dog Aggie never gives up hope that I will go outside with him and throw him a ball, even though it is too rare an experience, especially when it is cold. That never holds him back from his eager expectation as he waits at the door with his invitation in mind. It challenges me in two ways. One, why don’t I take the time to throw a ball for my dog? And two, why can’t I live with that kind of hope? Why do I let the groaning drown out the hoping?
I want to look forward to the New Year groaning for the new with hope the way creation does. I have better reason to have this perspective than my dog Aggie. First of all, I’m not hoping for something from a fallen human being. The object of my hope is the God who created me and made promises of how all that is so wrong, all the things that cause me to groan, are going to be made new. The other reason that I should be groaning for the new more consistently than my dog Aggie is that I have the first fruits of the Spirit, and Aggie does not. I have the reality of God living inside of me to give me not only hope but also comfort for the ways I groan.
When I groan for the new, I realize that I have the mind of God. The Trinity is working towards making all things new. The newness is experienced by mankind when the Holy Spirit comes to live inside all who believe in Jesus. I have God living in my heart. That is amazing. I experience the realness of God, who shows me truths in His word that only He could know would touch my heart or are the answers to my questions. I have a God who nudges me to do an act of kindness and sometimes exposes the reason, and many other times keeps me in the dark as to why He wanted me to give to that person.
Yes, there was a lot left undone last year and many challenges are included in the year to come, but I groan for the new with the awareness that God is working on that and, in the mean- time, He has given me the first fruits of the Spirit to make the new year full of hope.