• Diana Dodd

A New Resolution

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

Psalm 119:81 “My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.”

“I just can’t stand it!” I cried as I punched the “off” button on the TV remote. A bombing, shootings, and the ever present COVID news dominated the headlines. The last few days of 2020 weren’t shaping up into a hopeful outlook for 2021, and I felt my optimism for the new year fade.

I’ve always looked forward to a new year. I’ve seen it as a fresh start, a chance to do better, be better. I assume many people see it that way, which is why the tradition of New Year’s resolutions has endured. This year, though, my heart aches, and I view the coming year with…anxiety, trepidation, uncertainty, and a nostalgic longing for years past.

I know it’s wrong for me to feel this way. I have so much to be thankful for! Shouldn’t I, as a Christian, a child of God, be filled with hope, my eyes firmly fixed on Jesus? The answer is obviously a resounding, “Yes!” I recall Paul’s words to the Philippians, written from prison, in a cold, damp Roman jail cell with little food and no comforts. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Paul was resolute in his faith. He made it his life’s resolution to hold fast to his hope in Christ regardless of the troubles he faced, and so, I’m resolving to follow his example. As a new year begins, I’m making one big resolution – to remain hopeful.

When I consider how to change my current state of mind, I have to analyze why I feel this way in the first place. My conclusion is that my feelings aren’t entirely based in my flesh. A large part of my despondency over the depravity of the world stems from my faith. I hurt for those who hurt, for those who are lost in darkness so profound that they see no way out but to hurt themselves or others.

Imagine, for instance, how desperate to escape his circumstances Anthony Warner must have felt to believe he had no other option than to blow himself up in an RV on Christmas Day in Nashville, Tennessee. It breaks my heart to think that someone feels that hopeless. That’s one of the reasons we started Joy in Faithful Living. If God’s message of hope and salvation, of a way out of the mire of evil, sadness, chaos, and desperation can reach even one person through this site, it’s done what we prayed it would do.

So, this year, what can we all resolve to do out of faith in God and love for our fellow man? What resolutions can we make that will go beyond our own self-improvement? Perhaps we can begin by simply smiling, despite our masks, and put a cheerful kindness into our tone, even when dealing with someone who is not being kind.

For example, I’ve noticed a distinct downturn in the cheerfulness of customer service representatives in stores. It’s rare to have service with a smile these days. So, I suggest we make it our habit to speak pleasantly to them, to give them a heartfelt “Have a nice day!” even if they fail to say anything at all. As Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

Just the other day, I was in a grocery store that provides grocery delivery, and one of the associates whose job it is to fill orders came barreling down on me with one of those enormous carts. I scurried to get out of her way with my own cart, saying a sincere, “Excuse me,” as I did so, and she never even broke stride or glanced in my direction.

For a moment I started to get angry and let the experience affect my mood, but then I took a breath and thought: You have no idea what is going on with that girl. She could be having a bad day. She could be hurting. So, I shrugged off my anger, said a prayer for her and got on with my shopping.

Perhaps that incident is a reflection of the general state of people's minds these days, or it's possible that young woman is just rude and unkind, in which case my prayer for her was especially important, since only God can change a person's heart.

So, as we move into 2021, the words of Psalm 119:81 speak more profoundly to me, “My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.” We must hope and trust in the Word to see us though this present tribulation and those to come. We must engrave it on our hearts and minds so that we can recall it in times of need.

For, “Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:20) May we all resolve to keep to our eyes on Christ, our hope in His promises, and our hearts fixed in love.

Our Heavenly Father, thank You for seeing us through the last year. We ask for Your guidance and grace to see us through this new year. Please help us to keep Your word in our hearts and minds, and please help us to be a source of encouragement to others, ready to share our hope in You with those who are hurting and lost. We ask that You would make us cheerfully flexible in our plans, resolute in our faith, and confident in Your provision. In Jesus Christ’s holy name – Amen.

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