For at least the last decade I have chosen a word for the year. I have various blog posts written for each one since 2011–except for 2019, and I suspect that one was something about completion or finishing strong since I was at the end of my PhD journey. 2020’s word was wait. And did I ever learn to wait! I waited for responses to my 35+ applications to universities. I waited for direction and inspiration. I waited for a time when the whole family was together. I learned to value the waiting. I learned to work in the waiting.
2022 feels different. There is something coming, although I can’t explain why I sense it. Preparations need to be made. The time for waiting has passed; it is time for action. And action is not for the future; it is for today.
My theme verse for 2022 is Hebrews 3:13: But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. I’ll begin the year focused on Hebrews chapters three and four as a place to set anchor. I don’t know exactly what will come, but I will remain mindful that TODAY is limited in scope and breadth; action is required daily. It may be a blog. It may be a word of encouragement. It may be words added to this book on grace I’m compelled to write. Whatever it is, my goal for each day is to DO something for the Kingdom of Christ while it is still called today.
There is no “getting back to normal.” While I am confident the pandemic will run its course just as every other historical pandemic has done, the last two years have changed us all forever. While we can’t know for sure what the world will be like as 2022 comes and goes, we can be confident that Jesus will walk with us all the way. He is the same, yesterday (pre-pandemic), today (current wave), and forever (post-pandemic). The author of Hebrews offered a way to live in uncertain moments that 21st century believers would do well to follow:
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.Let marriage be held in honor among all…Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them…Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Whatever 2022 holds, we can be confident that whatever we endure, we will not be alone. Jesus is with us. No matter how scary or bleak, we know this world is temporary and that we look forward to the city that is to come (Hebrews 13:14) in a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:18-29).