Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. Ps. 115:1-4
Heavenly Father, it’s New Year’s Eve. In some ways this past year feels like it has flown by; but on the other hand, when I consider some of the painful events of the year, it seems like it was a year that would never end—a year that would never go away. The “already” and “not yet” of knowing you were clearly evident over the past twelve months. Joy and grief are both comfortably at home in my heart at the end of this calendar year.
Looking back, I can easily say with the psalmist, “Be praised, adored and worshiped, O God, for your love and your faithfulness!” Abba, Father, you loved me all year long with an everlasting, engaged, unwavering love, irrespective of anything I did or didn’t do. You loved me as much as you love your Son, Jesus, for you’ve hidden my life in his. A big Hallelujah for that.
Thank you for your steadfast love and fresh mercies that came every single day this past year—when I was aware of them and when I wasn’t. You remained faithful to everything you’ve promised us in Jesus. Great is your faithfulness. You do everything that pleases you, and (most of the time) that gives me incredible joy and peace.
But Father, it’s because of your love for me in Jesus that I can also own my grief and sadness. As much as I believe and love the gospel, there were stretches when I clearly didn’t act like it. This past year I joined the nations in saying, “So where is your God?” You usually heard this complaint from me when you were busy pleasing yourself, and not catering to me.
When you didn’t act of quickly as I expected or in keeping with my agenda, I sulked and whined. When I experienced the reality of life in a broken world among broken people (which was a lot this year), I wanted relief more than a changed heart; I wanted you to vindicate me more than I wanted to glorify you; I wanted to give up more than I wanted to grace up. Many times I trusted my voiceless, sightless, senseless, powerless idols morethan I trusted you. I own my sin and grieve my foolishness.
Here’s where the gladness trumps the sadness: I won’t always be a double-minded man with a divided heart. Father, you will bring to completion the good gospel work you have begun in me, and in each of your children. One day we will no longer even be tempted to sin, or worship anything or anyone but you. The rebellion in my heart will be eradicated by the redemption of your Son. Our brokenness will be eclipsed by the beauty of Jesus. Hasten that glad and glorious day.
But until then, on the eve of a new year, prepare us—prepare me for twelve new months of groaning and growing in grace. We resolve to trust Jesus plus nothing for our everything. With palms up, we offer you great praise and fresh surrender to your purposes. May 2012 be a new year of new creation fruitfulness. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ tender and trustworthy name.