Photo credit: His image photography
I’m standing at the beginning of a new year, but more importantly, I’m coming face to face with a new me. I feel a freshness and a wave of exhilaration washing over me like a breeze filling the wings of a butterfly as it emerges from its tomb-like chrysalis. Everything has changed.
I fell asleep just before midnight on New Year’s Eve. (I know. Pathetic.) Around 2am, I finally woke up and crawled into bed, but of course I couldn’t fall back to sleep. So I decided to practice my theme for the year. In the past, I chose one-word themes to mark the beginning of a new year, rather than making resolutions. This year, I did something different. I chose a Bible verse.
“Come to Me, and I will tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3.
So as I lay in bed, overwhelmed by the magical feelings that rush in with a new beginning, I did just that. I went to Jesus. And did He ever tell me great and unsearchable things.
He showed me a picture of myself, sitting on the end of my bed. Kneeling down before me, He handed me a wooden box. “I have a gift for you.” He patted the lid. “But you must be willing to give up all of this.” He gestured to my room and everything in it. Something stirred within me.
I am ready to let go. Of everything. There is nothing in all the earth that I want more than Him.
He lifted the lid to the box, and the next thing I saw was a desert, a parched and weary land. Jesus stood beside me and opened His hands before Him. “Forget the former things,” He said. “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!”
Just then a stream appeared beside us. He took my hand and led me along the water’s edge until we reached the shore of a mighty ocean.
He turned to face me and held both of my tiny hands in His. As His fingers enveloped mine, I noticed the scars–ugly marks that didn’t belong on such a beautiful being. They were a remembrance of a wager, a memory of a war, and the promise of a Lord and God who would redeem His people. I rubbed my thumbs over the marks as He quietly whispered, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” He peered up from our hands and into my eyes. “And now I am sending you.”
So dear friends, please hear my heart when I say, “I am here to proclaim to you the year of the Lord’s favor.” This is your year to experience freedom—freedom from oppression, freedom from the prison of your chains, freedom from the veil that hides your eyes to God’s goodness. This is the year of the Lord’s favor!
This year, I am committing to the words of Jesus, and I’d like to invite you to do the same. It’s time to be “the good news” to others. The Spirit of the Lord is not just on us but in us. God has called us to a life far more radical than the one we are living. We were made to live with His mission. We were made for more.
I, for one, am no longer willing to settle for a life of watered-down, Americanized Christianity. I will stop at nothing but the crazy, radical life of Jesus. I will settle for nothing less than a life buried deep within the story of God.
This is the year to escape the old. This is the year to embrace the new.
This is the year of the Lord’s favor!