The new year has arrived. With it comes the weight of all of our expectations, as we enter what we perceive to be a new beginning. We plan to lose weight, spend more time with our families, and of course spend more time with God. This will surely be the year that we are able to accomplish all that we plan to. If we just try a little harder.
Usually after a few days that feeling of newness from the turn of the new year starts to wear off. We realize that we are the same person, with the same hang ups as before. We get caught up in the cycle of our daily lives and we forget the pledges that we made to ourselves. Suddenly we are half way through the year, so we turn our gaze to the next one.
The next new beginning.
In the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, when the message from Lazarus’ sisters about his sickness and impending death reaches Jesus, he responds “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s son may be glorified through it” (John 18:4).
There is the immediate context in which Jesus spoke these words. Directly to the messengers, and to His disciples, regarding the news of Lazarus. We know that what Jesus is talking about is the coming event where He will raise Lazarus from the dead. But there is also a broader message that Jesus is revealing. We all must face death, but Jesus declares that we won’t end in death. One of the important things to realize in this story is that before he could experience resurrection, Lazarus had to die first.
But this sickness will not end in death.
When we are always searching for the next new beginning or the next best time to start fresh, we miss the daily invitation from God to experience new life. We are invited into a daily rhythm of love and acceptance through what Jesus accomplished in His death and resurrection. However, we are often too afraid to experience death, which means we often don’t experience resurrection either.
So, as the new year presses on and inevitably becomes just another year, let us lay down our expectations at the feet of Jesus. Let us experience His resurrection daily by participating in the new life Jesus gives to us. Don’t spend this year longing for new things. Rather, let’s spend this year celebrating the new life we are given through Jesus.