Most of us remember the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day. Murray's character wakes every morning to the same song, the same events and the same day. The only difference is he realizes he is in some temporal loop where he is stuck. While the movie is fictional I see people every day in that same temporal loop, stuck in the behaviors, the repeated mistakes and the feeling of being trapped. With the coming of a New Year, would we rather stay stuck in our 'temporal loops' or could we hope/strive for something different? The Bible has a few ideas to help us out.
God's Word reminds us to review. Luke 14 tells us to 'count the cost' when we are building. I believe we should count the cost both looking forward and backwards. Look back at the past year. What worked? What didn't? What did the decisions we made cost us in time, energy, resources and life? Let's all honestly look at 2017 and how it unfolded. What did it cost and was that cost worth it? This is a great practice if you want your life to be ever-improving.
The Bible also tells us to remember. In Deuteronomy 6 Israel is told to remember that when they enter the land they have been promised they will drink from cisterns they did not dig and enjoy vineyards they did not plant. They are told to remember the God that was with them in all of those events ... the wins ... the loses ... the struggles ... the victories. God provided for and sustained them in the past and that same God will provide for them and sustain them in the days to come. This is both reassuring and important as you enter the 'new territory' of 2018.
Finally, we are told, in Joel 2, to "return to the Lord." Joel's call for the people to return is is holistic for the nation of Israel. Joel says that he days are past when "rending garments" is a proper response. Rending our garments is an expression of grief and sorrow. The time for this (for Joel's people and I think for our people) is past. It is time for the rending of our hearts. It is time to let God break our hearts and put them back together in a way that is healthy, holy and honest.
Let's review our last year. Let's remember God's provision. Let's return to God with all of our heart. Because this is how God's people will see new and better things in the year to come. I think it is time to leave Groundhog Day and enter into the wonder of the "Great Day of the Lord!" Randy