man in orange top beside eyeglasses on brown book

If 2021 has shown me anything, it is that life is unpredictable. Having to juggle many different responsibilities is task enough. Then add on top of this the many times nothing goes according to plan. Any number of things in our present world can wreck even the most carefully laid plans, smashing them to smithereens. Any one day can lead to disappointments, let-downs, and broken trust.

Worst of all, it can sometimes seem as if you’re running the race of life completely alone. It’s enough to make you throw up your hands in despair. Many let themselves become cynical and jaded, summing life up as hard and painful. Even the greatest optimists (me being one of them) would grant that life will deal some heavy blows that are hard to recover from. With that outlook, it can be tempting to have a pretty negative attitude about the year ahead of us.

So now that I’ve painted the pretty picture for you, what do we do with it all? What do we do with the pain, the blows, and the broken trust? Where do we bring the hardship we go through? It must be brought somewhere.

What 2021 has taught me, simply put, is “Bring it to Jesus.” It really is that straightforward. Dare to open up to Him and ask the hard questions. The beautiful thing is that Jesus is always there and ready to listen. Someone told me this year, “Every human in this world is imperfect and can hurt you, but the man who came and lived a sinless life never will.” He will listen and He will answer. He may not answer according to those carefully laid plans we talked about earlier. There’s a chance it could lead to discomfort, or even the pain associated with being vulnerable. However, this pain is the kind that brings healing and growth.

How perfect that this year begins on God’s high holy day. What better time to be open with Jesus than at the beginning of a new year and on the Sabbath day? Jesus knows better than the rest of us about the trials of life. He wants us to take one day out of the week to connect with Him away from the chaos of the world. It’s easy to fill the day with our own wants and desires, but that will not help us take full advantage of this gift. In Isaiah 58:13 it says to “Turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; [and] honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly.”

It would do us all good to take some time to think about how God has brought us through this past year. There are many blessings that are so hard to see in the moment, but are still there in each and every day. Let’s not exclude Him from this day or the coming year. My prayer is that 2022 will include Sabbaths that God’s people will use to let our Creator administer joy through communion with Him, and healing from the “blows of life.”

“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). Bask in that rest and talk to Jesus today.

—Caleb volunteered to write in behalf of his father, who is laid up with Covid.