Happy New Year. I’ve said it to plenty of people again this year with my heart in the right place, but when I stop to consider what I am really saying, it falls far short of I truly hope for them.
Mirriam-Webster’s Dictionary (does anyone other than me still use a hard- covered dictionary?) defines happy as: favored by luck or fortune. Knowing and believing what I do about the two possible destinations that await each of us when we die, this wishing for a happy new year to those I meet rings shallow.
Please understand that I have nothing against someone experiencing some good luck in 2019. If you golf, may a fortuitous bounce give you a hole-in-one. If collecting coins is your hobby, may that rare find find you. Or maybe by chance you’ll step on a $100-dollar bill on your next walk outside. Whatever it is in things like this, I do indeed wish that you are favored by luck or fortune.
The pastor/teacher in me yearns for all of us to experience a far deeper and everlasting peace that none of these fleeting examples listed above can offer. If you are reading these words and you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, I rejoice with you! My 2019 greeting to you is that you take the time to come to know Him even better in the days ahead. As you do, may you be filled to overflowing with the peace and contentment only He can provide. Please don’t keep this blessing to yourself! It is meant to be shared with the world in which you exist. I pray that you daily manifest the love God has poured out on you to others. In 2019, may you be a true example of what a follower of Christ is to be.
Friend, if you are reading this and don’t know the salvation that Jesus died to offer you, my 2019 greeting to you is please consider it! At the top I mentioned there are only two destinations for us humans when our physical life ends. It is an eternal reality: One is to live in bliss for absolutely ever in the very presence of God, the other is to live on forever with the knowledge that what you heard about, but never acted upon, was true.
Maybe that doesn’t sound too bad to you on the surface, but consider this: We’re talking about eternity here. That’s a long time to ponder the hugest mistake you could ever make. It breaks my heart to even consider the utter loneliness of that existence and the total inability to change your circumstance once set in it. This is an isolation from all other life but even worse, it means you are forever separated from God; hopelessly lost forever.
I realize that is some heavy stuff to be thinking about on the first day of the new year, but so be it. I believe you are worth talking to about this! And as strongly as I feel for you, God has an infinitely greater desire to be in relationship with you.
The Bible makes many direct references about God’s heart towards those who have not yet come to believe in Him. One that says it clearly to me is this: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NIV).
The promise mentioned here is that there will be and end of the world as we know it. It doesn’t say when, just that it will happen. God’s heart for you is revealed in the second part of this verse: He is patient, not wanting anyone to miss out and He even tells us what we need to do; repent (meaning to be truly sorry for our mistakes and failures).
His offer of eternal security remains in place until the Lord comes back again, another promise from the Scriptures. I’m not claiming to have any inside-trader information of when that might be, only that it will. Please, please, please don’t be left out when that happens. Why not start this New Year with a brand-new you! Not one that is sculpted at the gym or through dieting, but one that is eternally transformed by your Creator God.
Will this then be a ‘happy new year?’ Not it the sense of good luck or fortune, but it will have at its base an unshakable certainty that God’s love will care for you always. I pray you consider God’s invitation and take Him up on his desire for you: to be happy, fulfilled, content, peace-filled, forgiving, etc. forever!
Blessings to all and thanks for reading,