It seems like it was only a few months ago we were celebrating the start of 2012 and yet in the last few weeks I have purchased and filled in my 2013 diary. It has been a wonderful and busy year and next year will probably prove to be similar.
2012 was a year of great challenge for us both as a parish and as individuals. Some of those challenges we planned for and some of those challenges were unknown.
One of the challenges we planned for was the significant step of faith in appointing a full time children’s and youth pastor. What a wonderful blessing both Ben and Heather are in the work of gospel ministry that we are part of. Of course one big part of our step in faith was the question of could we afford to put on a second full time worker? Well 2012 is all but done and dusted and we as a parish have certainly been able to afford the second full time worker. It is certainly a wonderful answer to prayer.
Also in 2012 I have seen many of you take the step of faith to want to reach out with the gospel to your work colleagues, family and friends. It is a wonderful thing as your pastor to see the growing desire for gospel proclamation and it is my prayer that this desire will only increase in the future.
But as we think about 2012 I wonder what our challenges will be in 2013? It can be a little unsettling to think about our future but as God’s people we can do this with a confident trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course God has not revealed all we would like to know about 2013 but what he has done in the gospel is give us clear glimpses and promises that will enable us to live each day of 2013 (and the years beyond) with the confident hope of our eternal inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-9).
Here are just a few of those glimpses:
- Glimpse number one, of course, is the Christmas event, where God entered our world as one of us.
- Glimpse number two is the Easter event, with its twin aspects of the Cross of Calvary and the empty tomb. God has defeated death.
- Glimpse number three shows us a risen Saviour, through whom we can confidently pray to God, ‘casting all our cares on Him’ knowing that ‘He cares for us’.
- Glimpse four is into Heaven itself, with many promises of scripture assuring us that Jesus is preparing a place for all who love Him and will return in cosmic glory to usher in the new Heavens and new earth, a place where there will be no pain, sickness, death, war or tears.
To be honest with you, I am glad I do not know my future in any sort of detail. But I am ever so grateful to God for revealing in the public domain signposts that the person who trusts Jesus is fully secure in God’s love.
God holds the future, for our good, and can be trusted each step of the way. He understands our fears and frailties and He bids us to trust Him and prove His love. It has been well said, and proven by many over the years that if we:
Look around we will be distressed;
Look within we will be depressed;
But if we look to Jesus we will be at rest.
May this be your experience in 2013, no matter what it brings.