It is not very often during a year that we contemplate the piece of future ahead of us like around New Year every year. It is only natural. It is valuable to meditate on the year past. We meditate with God in mind, not emptying our thoughts like eastern meditation encourages. Christian meditation urges “fulness of thought” – full of the Word of God. We all know that worry and fear also bring “fulness of thought” but those are exactly the kind of thoughts we fight. David complains about it in Psalms 94:19.
In the multitude of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul.(NKJV)
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your comforts delight me. (Amplified Bible)
We all know how thoughts can multiply especially at night. There is enough to worry about in the coming year. It is not difficult to worry. In fact, it is difficult NOT to worry. What then is the “fulness of thought” that works against the multiplication of fear-thoughts?
You might think of 2022 as the “former terror” as Isaiah 33:18 describes it.
In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror: “Where is that chief officer? Where is the one who took the revenue? Where is the officer in charge of the towers?”
Isaiah speaks to the nation about the Assyrian assault – a formidable and terrifying enemy that brought fear and panic amongst the people. The enemy wrote everything down to know the extent of all that they will loot from the Israelites. Everything that they held dear was counted for robbing and plundering. Is that what 2022 did to you?
In June of 2022 I wrote about the “grip of the terrible”. [https://pebblesofperpetuity.com/2022/06/04/224-the-grip-of-the-terrible/]
It is crucial to face our bad times and find healing for our emotional struggles. We cannot allow it to impact our relationships with loved ones when we become bitter and full of anger because of a torn and unforgiving inner being. In the end emotional pain impacts our bodies, mind and relationships.
The prayer I would like to pray over all of you in 2023 is also in Isaiah 33 -a beautiful chapter to be read in full.
He [God] will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure. (Isaiah 33:6, NIV)
I will always encourage people to write. Take some time with your “personal psychologist”, your journal, and write the terror of 2022 – whether it be personal, circumstantial, national or international. It will be your Old Year-mediation.
Make your writing into a “thought-bundle” and use your imagination to place it before the Cross of Jesus. “See” how a drop of blood from his Body fall onto your bundle. The bundle changes. The black ashes of disappointment become beautiful; it grows into a rock. Your stumbling block – failure and mistakes, sin and regrets – becomes your foothold for the future. All your inabilities become a door of hope for the provision of God in your life.
Your valley of Trouble becomes a door of Hope.
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. (Hosea 2:14,15)
A vineyard is symbolic of provision and abundance. A wilderness is symbolic of trouble and struggle, with scarcity and suffering. Note that provision is given IN the wilderness. It is in the midst of struggle that our ears are opened for the Word of God and an awareness of his Presence are experienced.
How can we control our “thought-bundle” for these last days of 2022?
One thing will change everything.
Praise God – your soul, your body in dance and your thoughts of gratitude. Praise his Holy Name. Read Psalms145-150 for the words of praise for the new song that you will sing. Multiply the thoughts of God’s wonders in your life.
Proclaim the year of Grace over 2023.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
In Hoc Anno Domini – in this year of our Lord.
The article appears in the Wall Street Journal every Christmas.