Years ago, I led skiing and backpacking trips with college students near the Canadian border. We pitched our tents in the snow and spent the short days and long nights enjoying God’s presence in a winter wonderland. As peaceful as it was, it was also quite challenging. By the end of the trip, we were all ready to eat a warm meal, take a hot shower, and put on dry clothes. Camping in the sub-freezing wilderness was manageable for a time, but eventually, we yearned for the comforts of home.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul paints a picture of the glorious home that is waiting for all who believe: our heavenly dwelling. Fourteen years before Paul penned this letter, he “was caught up” with Christ into Paradise (2 Cor. 12:2–4). And in our text today, he gives the Corinthians a glimpse of what he experienced in the midst of the present reality (5:1-4). First, Paul acknowledges the suffering, groaning, and brokenness that exists in our world (vv. 2, 4). He does not deny it, overlook it, or explain it away. Rather he embraces the fallenness of humanity and recognizes that God has something much better in store for us (v. 1).
This past year stretched and challenged us. It taught us a lot about ourselves, one another, and God. It also displayed, perhaps more clearly than ever, the depravity of our world and the utter need for the ultimate healer, rescuer, and peacemaker: our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not guaranteed that this year will be easier, but we can rest assured that He has made us “for this very purpose” (v. 5). What awaits is something brand new and He will be with us all the way home.
>> The New Year offers each of us a fresh new start. Probably more than ever, you are longing for something new. Allow the Lord to show you which areas of your life need a new beginning and choose to begin each day in His Word.
Father, as we enter a new year, we thank you that you have chosen to place us at this specific point in history and we take comfort in your care, wisdom, and lovingkindness.