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
Dear heavenly Father, on this eve of a new year, I feel a wide range of emotions. Sadness and gladness both occupy appropriate space in my heart. Both of these themes are at work in my heart as I reflect on the past year. It’s a good tension—one generated by the gospel, itself.
Looking back over the past twelve months, I quickly raise my voice and with the psalmist, and praise you for your irrepressible love and your inviolate faithfulness. Father, you loved me all year long with an everlasting, engaged, unwavering love—irrespective of anything I did or didn’t do. I praise, adore and bless you for your full and rich affection for us in Christ.
Indeed, you love each of your children as much as you love your Son, Jesus, for you’ve hidden our lives in his. Thank you for your steadfast love and fresh mercies that came every single day this past year—when we were aware of them and when we weren’t; and when we acknowledged them and when we didn’t. You remained faithful to everything you’ve promised us in Jesus. Great is your faithfulness. You do everything that pleases you—all the time, in every circumstance. This makes me so very, very glad.
But Father, it’s precisely because of your love for me in Jesus that I also own my sadness. This past year, there were also times when I joined the nations in saying, “So where is your God?” You usually heard this complaint from me, or saw it in me, when you were busy doing what pleases you, and not what pleases me. There were times when I trusted my voiceless, sightless, senseless, powerless idols, more than I trusted you. I own my unbelief and grieve my foolishness.
But the gladness of the gospel trumps the sadness of the year; for I will not always be a man of two minds and a divided heart. Father, it gives me great peace and unparalleled joy to know that you will bring to completion the good work you have begun in me. One Day I will no longer even be tempted to worship anything or anyone but you. One Day, along with all your children, I will be as lovely as and as loving as Jesus. Hasten that glad and glorious Day.
But until that Day, fill the next twelve months with groaning and growing in grace. Let us see your hand and heart at work everywhere. Bring much glory to yourself as the gospel does its work, in us and through us in this upcoming year. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ faithful and loving name.