If you read the front page of the newspaper (or more likely, the lead article in your news feed), you will become convinced that 2019 may be one of the worst years in a long time. Recession talk abounds. Immigration issues are overwhelming our government. Jobs are threatened. And, terrorism keeps us uneasy.
With that backdrop in mind, I was interested to read an article (CNN 11/21/18) that researched and reported on the worst years in human history. We may think we have a lot to worry about for 2019, but I am not thinking we have it nearly as bad as the folks did back in 536-575 A.D.
Apparently that period began with a massive volcanic eruption. The accompanying cloud of ash covered the Northern Hemisphere in darkness. That darkness lowered the temperatures significantly which led to widespread crop failure. Famine was everywhere.
In 542 A.D. 25-60% of the population of Europe was struck by the bubonic plague. Over 50 million people died. The combination of the eruption and the plague cause a severe economic stagnation that lasted some 30 years. Tough times.
So back to our new year. What should we be expecting? What should we hope for? What should we be focused on?
Well, based on the words of the prophet, Isaiah, I am convinced that God is ready to do a NEW THING in our new year.
In those middle chapters of Isaiah, the prophet turns his attention to encouraging the Israelites who were in captivity in Babylon. For almost 70 years, their enemies held the Jews as Jerusalem was destroyed and the nation languished in defeat.
Along comes the man of God with these words of hope: “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. Behold I am doing a new thing…”(Isa. 43:18-19)
And I am convinced that is exactly what God wants to do with our new year-a new thing. That “new thing” will be different for all of us. It may involve our work or our relationships. It may require a move or an attitude adjustment. It may necessitate a fresh approach to serving the Lord.
All of us need to be singing a new song (Ps. 98); embracing the new covenant (Jer. 31:31), looking forward to the new heaven and earth (Isa. 65:17) and enjoying His compassions that are new every morning (Lam. 3:23)
But I am certain that the Lord is at work in each of us. So, let’s ignore the headlines and focus our attention on our Heavenly Father. It can be our best year yet!