In just a few days the world will collectively celebrate the coming of a brand new year. New Year's resolutions and planned gatherings, reflections on the year past and thoughts on the one to come will take center stage. As I think to the turning of another page on my calendar, I am struck by the reality that our time here is so very limited. As opposed to common young adult thought, we will not live forever on this planet. We all have a time appointed.
If you think about it, death is very humbling. It turns us "self-assured," "self-productive," "self-sustaining" beings into a pile of ash. It reduces us back into the nothingness from whence we came. The thought of it rankles. We were never meant to experience it, were never meant to be touched by its sting. But here we are, surrounded, influenced, and affected by it. So why talk about death when so close to the happiness and joy of a New Year? Because, as God alone so beautifully does, He has created another purpose for this thing sin intended solely for destruction.
Through Christ, death, the destroyer, has been turned into that which unshackles us from the chains of sin which seek to bind us in their grip. It is turned into a vehicle of freedom. Through it, we will be raised unto new life to be lived for an eternal "New Year" before the throne of God where sin will no longer reign! By it we are freed to forever escape the bonds of sin and live in completed perfection before Christ for all eternity.
Phenomenal how He does that, isn't it? How He takes something so utterly miserable and transforms it into something good? Without God's sustaining grace, our hearts would cease to pump, our lungs would fail to draw breath. By His decree we take each step as we go about the day He has given. Not one iota of "our" existence has anything to do with "us." It's all about Him - and death is used to keep us mindful of that fact.
Death is allowed that our focus might remain on He who destroyed its staying power. It inhabits our mortal frames that we might not "trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead..." (2 Corinthians 1:9). Death, sin's ultimate last stab at the work of Christ, ought catapult our minds and hearts in the direction of the One who took death upon Himself and crushed into powder its claim over us. Our thoughts should focus on the One who delivered us from an eternity without Him. It is from that dreadful state, so great a death, He has saved us!
As we think about the New Year, let us be resolved to keep our focus on the One without whom there would be no new day, new tomorrow, new plans, new hopes, new dreams, "New Year," or new life!