Getting up your resolve?…it’s a new year already

For many of us the beginning of a new year brings questions of how we want to live.

We reflect on the past year – our successes and failures – and maybe we feel like we can learn from the past, “get over” hang ups and start anew. We know the challenges of our world – not the least of which is vulnerable people living in extreme poverty – and we want to work for change.

Simultaneously we may be hanging on to hope by our finger nails.

Here are a couple of thoughts that I hope can bring encouragement as you enter this new year.

God believes in you

I will credit this “inspired” (wink) thought to listening to an album by Pierce Pettis. In a playful way, Pettis sings:

When you start to doubt that you exist
God believes in you
Confounded by the evidence
God believes in you

 When your light burns so dim
When your chances seem so slim
And you swear you don’t believe in him
God believes in you

New Year’s resolutions, while they can be really good, can also focus us on our own efforts to have more faith or discipline or resolve. In the midst of your resolve don’t forget that the Lord has already set His resolve on loving you, His child. Consider the below passage from the book of Galatians that is full of God’s resolve for His children:

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:4-6

Broken hallelujahs

Bird and Twigs wreath

Wreath by Resito Pecson on display at the Missouri Botanical Garden, December 2012.

Maybe you enter this year with great resolve and visions of “triumph” are straight ahead. On the one hand, all I can say is, “go for it!” Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are his [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Chances are that God has some good works for you to walk in this year, and this is what you were made for! So, more power to you, as you set out with resolve toward good works.

If you are not living in triumph, it may be helpful for you to remember that, as the songwriter Leonard Cohen says, “love is not a victory march, but a cold and broken hallelujah.”

On the way to success or victory, we all face our sin and unbelief. Yet because of God’s goodness in Jesus we still see fruit springing from our lives. If you ask anyone who has experienced what the world sees as success, chances are they don’t feel 100 percent triumphant. They know where they’ve failed. And they know what good things happened that, in a way, just don’t add up. They were touched by God’s grace. It is at that point that one can let out broken hallelujahs.

I trust that, if you are a reader of the Food for the Hungry blog, you want to make a difference in this world. You want to see good news reach the poor or vulnerable. So, my hope for you and for myself is that we can enter a new year knowing that God clings to us even as we respond by trusting His promises. And that when we see the fruit God brings through our good work, we can let out a broken hallelujah knowing this is what we were created to do.

About Eileen O'Gorman

Sometimes I think I am incessant middle child. I find myself in the middle of things a lot. Right now, in particular with my work in communication for Food for the Hungry, I find myself in the middle—maybe a bridge builder—between “worlds.” However, what seems like many worlds all occupying one planet, is actually one grand world that God created. I just can’t get a handle on that! Mostly I hope that my work helps bring reconciliation in this world and that, by grace, we can see good things happening – on earth as it is in heaven.

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