At the close of a year, it can be beneficial to look back over the preceding months to gain a deeper appreciation of good experienced and lessons learned. Once we have expressed gratitude for our blessings, and identified areas we’d like to improve, we may feel inspired to greet the new year with hope and with the joyful expectation of experiencing more opportunities for goodness and growth.
But what if we are filled with apprehension about the coming year? How can this feeling be overcome, so that we can feel a sense of hope and peace?
When I’ve been in this kind of situation, I’ve found it helpful to turn to the enduring word of the Bible. There, we read of God’s promises to everyone that He loves us, protects us, provides for us, governs us, and guides us every moment. Here are some of these promises:
“Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
“I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).
“Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love...” (Jeremiah 31:3).
In addition, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, “Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 246). A year of “wisdom, beauty, and holiness” sounds vastly better than a year of bad expectations. So how can we experience love and goodness in the coming year?
A great way to start is to look deeper than a limited, changeable human experience, and turn instead to the God that is divine Spirit and Love, as the Bible refers to Him (see John 4:24 and I John 4:8). Qualities such as goodness and love are God’s attributes, and they are spiritual – and they belong to each of us as God’s image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26, 27). God is not changeable, so these qualities are not susceptible to change, chance, or corruption, but are permanent, fixed, reliable, and dependable.
Christ Jesus, who exemplified the nature of divine Love, or the Christ, understood these facts about God and His spiritual creation. Spiritual truth is what enabled Jesus to heal the sick, feed the multitude, and demonstrate that God’s good government is permanent and in operation on our behalf in every moment. And he showed that we too can apply these truths in our lives.
Several years ago, I found myself at the start of a new year, beginning a completely new chapter in my life. I wasn’t sure how the year was going to unfold, and while I was hopeful about it, I was also feeling a little overwhelmed and concerned. But the above passages from the Bible were a comfort to me, and praying with them helped me realize that the only thing God has in store for us is love and goodness. As a result, the sense of worry dissolved, and I resolved to magnify the good in my experience, even in the midst of adversity.
As it turned out, I faced challenges that year, but praying with these ideas consistently brought needed solutions and harmony. I also was presented with many other opportunities for spiritual growth, and with amazing adventures that continue to inspire and bless me today.
A close follower of Jesus’ teachings, James, wrote the following in the New Testament: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). God’s goodness is permanent, and praying to better understand this spiritual reality enables us to see and experience evidence of this in our lives, and in the lives of all mankind.
We can resolve this year to bear witness to the spiritual good that is ever present, always blessing all. On this basis we can expect to discern and magnify the good that is present around us. As we do, we open the door for resolution of conflicts, increased harmony and health, and a deeper sense of assurance and abundance.