A question. A collection of hopes and fears. A fundamental not knowing. To be human is to both look into the future and to have no idea what it will bring.
Un-American, perhaps. In the land where we are asked to project where we want to be in five years and then chart a course to arrive there. In a culture where we are urged to plan for a retirement we have no idea will ever be ours. Trustingly. We announce the birth of babies long before they’re actually born.
If faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen, then some of our faith is a bold expression of our confidence in ourselves and the world around us.
This year I will…
- Graduate from college.
- Get a new job.
- Have a child.
- Move someplace warm.
- Take up tennis.
Our expectations may be entirely reasonable – the appropriate outcomes of decisions and actions we’ve taken in the past. Our hopes energize us, fueling positive action.
It’s dangerous for us to anticipate the unprecedented.
- The next ravaging fire.
- Another twice a century collapse of the stock market.
- A pandemic or devastating personal diagnosis.
We are warned against considering such things. To dwell too deeply on adverse possibilities is to risk immobilizing ourselves in despair.
Choose optimism. It’s the better path.
But both optimism and pessimism drawn from our own abilities and our perceptions of the world equally declare; I’m in this alone.
To live our faith in God is an entirely different experience. In faith, we look into the future and admit that we are not in control. We acknowledge that there is both good and evil in the world around us. We offer both our future-visioning and our not-knowing to the God with whom we live. We choose to trust that no matter what happens, God is both good and still with us.
We find freedom and confessing both our hopes and our fears.
- This year, Lord, I expect to graduate from college.
- This year, Lord, I expect to get a new job.
- This year, I’m afraid a disaster will destroy my home.
- This year, I’m afraid of getting sick.
Lord, I give to you all my expectations and fears. I trust that no matter what happens, you, who are good will still be with me. In your presence, my soul rests.
What are your New Year’s confessions?