Thursday, January 1, 2009

What I Want for the New Year

It's hard to believe that 2008 has come and gone. I went to a friend's house for a bit and then came home around 10:30. I slept my way into the New Year. But all day yesterday and today I have been pondering what I want for the New Year.

Hope. I still want to focus on hope. I've learned a lot about it this past year, but I think that there is more to learn. But rather than just hope I also want to learn about peace.

I want peace in the Middle East.

I want peace in the United States. What could be accomplished if the Democrats and Republicans actually worked together?

I want fewer homocides.

I want peace in the world. No more genocides.

I want peace for every child.

I want peace in my relationships.

I want to be a peace maker rather than a peace taker.

More than that, I want to have the peace that passeth all understanding.

Towards the end of John, Jesus has had the last supper with the disciples. He has told them what is to come, but none of them fully understand it.

In many ways, I think peace was Jesus parting gift to the disciples. John 14:23-27 says this:

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."

"All this I have spoken while with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives you. Do not not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Peace is more than the absence of conflict and strife. It is something that comes from the Father. It is something that God has given even in the midst of the hard ugly stuff in the world. I look at my list of things I want peace for. I do want peace for each of those things. But I want to be marked as a person of peace even in the midst of the hard things of life. I want the peace that passeth all understanding.

That is a big prayer. My life so far has been marked by anxiety and depression. When something isn't right, when I am in the midst of a conflict or hard situation, I obsess about it. But that is not what God wants me to do. Should I give it my time and thoughts to help remedy the situation? Yes, but more than that I should be able to hand it to Him and rest in knowing that He is in control.

I think of the disciples in the midst of a storm with Jesus asleep in the boat. They were panic stricken and almost with indignation woke Jesus and cried, "Don't you care if we drown?" My life so far has echoed that cry. "God, don't you care that I'm drowning down here?" But Jesus does care. When they wake him Jesus says, "Quiet! Be still!" In that moment the wind and waves completely die down. But then he almost rebukes the disciples. "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" (Mark 4:35-41)

I want to be one who can be at peace in the midst of the storm. That is not to say I want the storms. But I know that they are part of life. I want the hope and peace that comes from knowing Jesus to be evident to everyone in my life and be a testimony to Him.

I came across this anonymous quote:

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of these things and have a calm heart.

May God grant us all calm hearts that hope in Him this New Year.



Joyful said...

Happy New Year Amy!

I received a teapot and two cups and saucers for Christmas. On the teapot is the verse, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace." On the teapot the word "Hope" appears in bolder lettering and one of the teacups is "Joy", the other "Peace".

Have you ever heard the story of the contest that required the participants to paint a picture of peace? Many beautiful works were submitted. The one that won depicted a storm. On closer look there was a little bird asleep in a nest on a branch of a tree as it waved in the wind and lightening struck. That's peace.

Desiring to know the Prince of Peace,

ThreeGirlyGirls said...

I love that quote!! So true!!

Praying for God to do amazing things in your life this year!

THAT GIRL said...

Found you through the CONline devotional. I love this entry, it is very "in line" with what I wrote on my own blog for the new year. Peace that surpasses all understanding is what I have in my soul, amidst the raging storm... the peace of Jesus that affirms tom me that everything is going to be allright if I keep my mind on Him and not of this world.

Thank you!

Lady Lynn's Boutique said...

Love this post! It is a great reminder and wake up call for most of us who are a work in progress.