Time Long Past (It’s Been A While)

Packard Couch Pic

I Have To Believe We Can Change

It’s January 2nd, 2017.

That feels so weird to type let alone to say it out loud.
When I eventually do.
I have not yet and I am not sure if it is because I am avoiding her or it just has not come up. (Wait her?)
That is correct 2017 is a woman.
At least I hope she is a woman; one that will be more gentle and supportive than years past.
Some of us could use it.

Nothing Changes On New Years Day

Around the beginnings of a new year we tend to hear quite a bit of talk about new starts, starting fresh, new beginnings, but what changes from December 31st to January 1st?

I know I am the same person with the same circumstances and problems and visions and dreams that I was 3 days ago and a lot of my friends are too, but there is this insistent resolve that things can be new.

In ancient Hebrew culture there was this concept of a sabbath year.
A year of rest.
Israel’s God commanded a year that came every seventh year in which you would not work.
I am sure that sounds amazing to some and probably just as much terrifying to others.
“What would I do with myself in that time?”
Even the land would get a much needed time to rest up and not have to strain to bring in the next seasons harvests.

Sound crazy?
Well get this!

Every 7th 7 years they were commanded to have what they called the “Year of Jubilee”.
A year in which all the slaves would be set free, the debts would be forgiven, and the land would be given back to the families it originally belonged to.
Doesn’t that sound both insane and amazing?!
There are very few circumstances in which I would use the word jubilee to describe the joy that should be had and this sure would be one of them!
What kind of God would command such a thing of His people?

One problem.
From what I can tell, they never actually did it.

Israel’s God knew what they needed, knew that His people’s hearts longed for things to be restored and made right. This way of living was supposed to be a sign to the nations, an example of how to do life, that things can be made right!
This sounds like something we’ve been yearning for too (and also sounds eerily similar to the plot of Mr. Robot).

We Need Things To Be Made New

Fast forward a few hundred years and God sent His Son Jesus to wipe the debt clean, to be the jubilee that His people never could give themselves.
To clean slates.
We all need a fresh start sometimes, time to reset, and for many this is what the new year marks.

It is almost like we feel we have built up a debt made up of our problems, pain, regrets and struggles of the prior years decisions and we need this debt to be wiped clean.
But guess what?
Jesus cleaned our slates too!
He is our Jubilee!
Jesus came into a broken family and world and restored it.
Imagine if from now on He was our starting point.
You will never walk alone in 2017 with Him.

Time Long Past
You know that Auld Lang  Syne song?
I am sure you know the tune. (Google it if you do not).
It is sung every new years eve by many people all over the world.
The song itself though is actually one of remembrance.
To remember what has past as we move on to bigger, wilder, and better things.

Many people, myself included, seek direction at the beginning of each new year.
This year I am not looking to start over.
God showed me a lot in 2016 even though for me those 365 days involved more change than any year of my life I can think of.
I know He has a better story for me this year but it is built on the shoulders of everything I went through in the previous year.

All of the vision and dreams I dreamed with Him and others do not go away in 2017 but are carried over and developed further into it.
The past becomes the context in which the future is revealed, and I am hopeful for the future.
I am hopeful things will change for the better in the long run.

Isaiah 40 says “Those who wait upon the lord will find their strength has been renewed”.
That sounds great but this waiting involves suffering, something I know I do not like to acknowledge at times.

So do I still want it?
Yes and I know it will be worth it.

Galations 6:9 says, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
I heard someone the other day sum these statements up in this simple phrase:

“If You Don’t Quit, You Win.“

So continue to dream and act.
Try things and make mistakes cause it means you are trying things.
Use 2016 as a platform just as each previous day is a platform for the next and every breathe is a second chance.

Experience Hope In 2017,