Moving from the Old to a New Year
Marti Wibbels, MS, LMHC
Have you ever noticed when people say, “Happy New Year,” they almost immediately begin talking about something “old”—from political problems and economic woes to health or family concerns? I’m not suggesting we ignore legitimate concerns but that we learn to manage them. Then we can make 2022 a happy new year.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said, “Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.’ Since then, I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.’” In 1970, the Nobel Prize in Literature 1970 was awarded to Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn "for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature."
After extensive research, Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn concluded our struggles and complexities increase when we forget God. That leads to an important question: how can we remember God?
- We can notice each time He provides for our needs—air to breathe, food to eat, water, or wisdom. We can determinedly train ourselves to doubt our doubts instead of God.
- We can look for His presence in nature—the beauty of the stars, the warmth of the Sun, the sheer exhilaration of the ocean, and even the perseverance He provides for ants.
- We can ask for His help. Amid ordinary and extraordinary challenges, we can apply Jeremiah 33:3, turning to God, believing Him when He says, Call to Me, and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you do not know (NKJV).
- We can read and meditate on the Bible every day (if you don’t have a Bible, you could try reading it in an app such as BIBLESOFT). If you’ll read only five Psalms and one Proverb daily, you’ll read the books of Psalms and Proverbs in just one month.
- Read the Gospel of Mark to find out who Jesus really is—and how He promises to transform our lives if we’ll trust in Him. Discover what Jesus meant when He called His disciples, saying Follow Me...and I will make you fishers of men (Mark 1:17).
- We can prayerfully become the “good soil” of Mark 4, the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word [of God, the good news regarding the way of salvation] and accept it and bear fruit—thirty, sixty, and a hundred times as much [as was sown] (Mark 4:20, AMP).
Instead of allowing the world to overwhelm us with fear and distrust, we can steadfastly place our trust in the One Who is worthy of everything we are. God alone can free us from tyranny, torment, and dread. When we realize His gracious provision, we can face any challenge with courage and hope (see Romans 5:3-5).
God promises not only internal transformation but purpose: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], He is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].
But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but cancelling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favor with God] (2 Corinthians 5:17-19, AMP).
Let’s have a truly HAPPY NEW YEAR, enjoying God’s love as one, wherever we are throughout the world! Your life matters to God!