Have you noticed what people are saying about 2022?
At this time last year, social media was buzzing with posts bidding good riddance to 2020. We were all ready to have 2020 in the rearview mirror. People were prepared to give 2021 a kiss on the cheek and a big ol’ bear hug—and then 2021 happened. And it kept happening.
I haven’t seen anyone say anything hopeful about 2022. No bashing the awfulness of 2021, no crowning of a new year, and no bold statements that ’22 can’t be worse than ’21. Maybe I’m not paying attention to the socials as much as I was last year, but it seems like there is a tone, posture, and expectation change when it comes to this new year.
Maybe we are still dragging from the whiplash of it all. Perhaps our hope in society, civility, common sense, and decency have also fallen victim to supply chain issues. Maybe reality has set in. Maybe entering the third year of a global pandemic has adjusted our expectations.
Friends, fellow pilgrims, let’s not lose hope.
Next year will be a wonderful year.
I say that not because I’ve become a prosperity gospel preacher or some shell of a Christian author that now promotes bland positivity.
I know next year will be a good year, on the whole, because God will continue to be our God. The drama of redemption rolls forward.
We shouldn’t be under any illusions that things will go our way. "Many plans are in a person’s heart, but the Lord’s decree will prevail" (Proverbs 19:21). Resolutions will unravel. Plans will crater. The unexpected will happen. Non-great things will still happen around the world, in the lives of those we love, and in our lives too.
But God is still God. A good God, a great God, and our God.
Let Psalm 28 minister to you as we enter this new year. I was struck afresh by the four things King David says about God at the end of this Hebrew hymn. I encourage you to read the whole Psalm, but for now, meditate with me on these four bolded words in the final verse.
Save your people, bless your possession, shepherd them, and carry them forever.
(Psalm 28:9 CSB)
God has saved you. And he will continue to save, deliver, and redeem you in 2022. Remember your conversion. Recall the provision of the cross and empty tomb. Remember how he’s grown you. God continues to do his work of redemption in our lives. Watch him work in 2022.
God has blessed you. And he will keep blessing you—transforming you into the image of Christ, illuminating his word to your heart and mind, and bearing fruit by the Holy Spirit. Enjoy every spiritual blessing you have from union with the risen Christ.
God will shepherd you. The triune God will lead you throughout 2022. Count on it. Marriage difficulty? He will shepherd you. Problems with a friend? He will shepherd you. A sin that needs to be confessed? He will shepherd you. A new ministry endeavor, a move to a new church, or entering the long counseling journey? “The Lord is my shepherd.” He will gently lead us, guide us, prompt us, and we will respond in faith to his love.
God will carry you. When you’re spiritually, emotionally, and physically exhausted, God will care for you. When you aren’t sure how to make it to next week, the Lord of all creation isn't too busy to carry you. Life in this fallen world is often more than we can handle. Our smarts, instincts, and ideas aren’t always enough. We don’t always rise to the occasion. And that’s because we aren’t God. We need him to carry us. He will see us through. God will carry us forever. We depend on the triune God for everything. Forever.
God will do these four things for us in 2022—he will do them forever. Next year will be a good year for our souls because we have a good God keeping watching over us. Let's pray Psalm 28:9 together.
Music for Your Soul
Rest On Us by Maverick City Music | Spotify.
Quick Reads for Spiritual Theology
Do not miss this article from my friend and doctoral advisor, Dr. Donald S. Whitney on 10 Questions For a New Year.
A new year is always a good time to consider new rhythms for our spirituality. This month's articles help us think about the habits of spiritual formation.
- Prayer as Reverent Conversation by Jared C. Wilson
- Ten Reasons to Read the Bible Every Day by John Piper
- The Seven Heavenly Virtues: An Ancient Framework for Spiritual Formation by Ryan Griffith
- Routine Bible Reading Can Change Your Life by Trevin Wax
- The Excellencies of the M’Cheyne Bible-Reading Plan by D.A. Carson
Long Reads for Spiritual Theology
Do You Believe?: 12 Historic Doctrines to Change Your Everyday Life by Paul David Tripp. "Paul David Tripp takes a close look at 12 core doctrines and how they engage and transform the human heart and mind. According to Tripp, “true belief is always lived.” To demonstrate, he unpacks each doctrine and presents its relevance for the Christian life. As readers explore topics such as the doctrine of God, the holiness of God, and the doctrine of Scripture, they will be fueled to fall deeper in love with and stand in awe of their Creator and Father―putting the truths of God’s word on display for all the world to see."
On Living Well: Brief Reflections on Wisdom for Walking in the Way of Jesus by Eugene Peterson. "On Living Well is a collection of Eugene’s never-before-published asides, ponderings, stories, and sermons. It’s designed to help you walk in the way of Jesus with a little more courage, passion, and hope—by offering new ways to practice generosity, community, prayer, simplicity, worship, inner peace, and so much more . . . even with the challenges of today."
If you missed my favorite reads of 2021, you might find something interesting.
"Doctrine is important, but it is not an end in itself. There is to be an experiential reality, moment by moment."
— Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality