“This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
How do you feel once the holidays have drawn to a close and the reality of every day life begins to settle back in? For most of us, we start a new year with high hopes, dreams, goals, expectations, and even resolutions. Oftentimes, gym attendance peaks during the month of January, diet plans are established in exuberance and dedication, and resolutions are made to do better in the coming year. Yet, as the days creep into months, our best of intentions begin to wane and our resolutions unravel.
Years ago, I gave up on the entire concept of New Year Resolutions because I always found myself being disappointed in my failures and shortcomings. I began the practice of setting goals for the year and evaluating them periodically and adjusting as necessary. Honestly, this seems to work better for me. I prayerfully reflect on the year that is ending and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to direct the goals I set for the year to come. This year is no different. I sat down with a notebook and a Bible, and the Lord and I established some plans together for 2022.
As I was cleaning my house this morning, I contemplated this year of 2022. We have experienced and survived a host of new challenges since March 2020. Last year, I don’t think I was alone in bidding good riddance to 2020. I welcomed 2021 with open arms and great expectations. Yet, the year didn’t go as planned. 2021 brought with it its own new set of heartbreaks, disappointments, and unexpected changes. Beloved family members were lost; physical ailments and injuries abounded; altered plans and adjusted dreams were made. The clean slate with which the year began quickly filled with undesirable messiness.
I love a blank notebook, a clean slate, and a new beginning. Hence, a brand new year is ideal and full of possibilities. Yet, after the disappointments of the last couple of years, I find myself facing this year guarded and with reservation. The unspoken mindset is 2020 was bad, 2021 didn’t get better, and in 2022, I expect nothing good.
But God, in His kindness and faithfulness, whispered a question to me this morning: “Where are you placing your hope?” Where, indeed? My hope, subconsciously, has been placed in what I can see around me though I know where my true hope lies. The last two years have slowly and subtly worn down hopes. Perhaps, I have even ceased to hope anymore because without expectations, there will be no disappointments. This is not the abundant life Jesus offers to us in Christ. This is not how we as believers should be anticipating a new year. The prayer of my heart cries, “Father, change my perspective. Rekindle and renew my hope in You and You alone.”
God brought to mind this verse from Romans 5:5: “This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” When we hope in God, we will NOT be disappointed. He will never let us down. Hope is the anchor for our souls, Hebrews 6:19 reminds us. Humans will let us down; not intentionally, but we are all human, after all. Only the Lord Jesus Christ is perfect. We can trust in Him. He wants to stir hope and expectation in Him in 2022. Hope in Him will not result in disappointment. Jesus is 100% trustworthy. Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us. Jesus is coming again. Jesus has a plan for every single one of our lives. Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit as a deposit for our inheritance to come (Eph. 1:14). We can fully expect God to do what He has promised, just as Abraham did and it was credited to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:21-24).
I don’t know what 2022 will hold for me and my family–only God knows. I do know that change is coming yet again for my family. Not change in a bad way, but organic and natural changes that occur as children mature and grow up. Change is not always easy and is sometimes a little scary. But when my hope is placed in God alone, I know I will not be disappointed, regardless of what life brings. Circumstances will change. Challenges will come. Bad things will happen. Loss may deliver blows. But God is still good, and when my hope is in Him, I will not be shaken by soaring on the highest mountaintops or sinking into the lowest valleys. The key is trusting in Christ alone, looking to Jesus as my Hope, my Deliverer, my Savior, and my Redeemer. He is coming again for me. Until that day, I will look to Him and put my hope in Him and will not be disappointed, no matter what happens.
Hope in Jesus will never disappoint, my friend. What are you hoping for in 2022? Entrust it to Jesus–and expect Him to do exceedingly far beyond what you can ask, think, or imagine.
Happy New Year 2022!