My predicting days are over.
In January 2020, I (like every other pastor I know) not so cleverly preached a sermon series based on having 20/20 Vision for the coming year. We preachers should have read Ecclesiastes 8:7 that states: Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come? Can I just say, nothing about that sermon series applied to life after March of 2020? Who knew (other than God Almighty) the gale force winds of Covid that were about to hit us all?
In January of 2021, I thought, “OK, we’ve gone through the worst of it. This pandemic will end soon and we will ‘go back to normal.’” That didn’t happen either. Ummm… I still hadn’t read Ecclesiastes 8:7. “Back to normal” (back to pre-March 2020) is never going to happen and some of that isn’t all bad. “Normal” wasn’t working for a lot of people back then. To put it simply: There’s no going back.
So as we sit on the cusp of 2022, and I will make no predictions. I will offer no visions of doom nor will I give glowing reports of things to come. I will only affirm my belief that Jeremiah 29:11 is still true. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God knows. I don’t. God is in control. I’m not. Neither are you, by the way. We can trust that God’s hope and future for us is still very, very good. We put our hope in the one who said, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19). God is not asleep at the wheel. He knows what He is doing. He owes us no explanation.
Here’s my 2022 declaration: If we keep our eyes on Jesus (not the wind and the waves my like-Peter-in-the-storm-when-he-jumped-out-of-the-boat friends), then we will make it. Nothing that happens is a surprise to Jesus. We need not fear (“Perfect love drives out fear” 1 John 4:18), but that doesn’t mean that crazy, scary stuff won’t happen. Jesus warned that it will happen (“In this world you will have trouble.” John 16:33). Keeping “our eyes fixed on the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2) is the key to making it to the other side of troubles, storms, problems and life. Jesus never fails.
To be sure, there are a lot of distractions. The Enemy wants nothing more than for you and me to notice the wind and the waves swirling around us. Our Foe loves it when we get caught up in needless chatter. (Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 2 Timothy 2:23). This isn’t a difficult equation to figure out. Keep our eyes on Jesus in 2022 and we will be just fine.
Here’s my 2022 success plan:
No wave watching.
No storm worrying.
No argument starting.
No people bothering.
No pandemic pandering.
No political posturing.
No finger pointing.
No social media barfing.
No me-first asserting.
No Bible dust-collecting.
No faithless walking.
No why me? Why Now? Why this or that?
Just Jesus in 2022.
Let’s just keep our eyes on Jesus.
If we do all of the above, we will have a very successful 2022 no matter what happens.