About 12 months ago, we were looking at the beginning of 2010. I heard a radio program that encouraged people to find one word that would encapsulate the new year. Almost immediately, I knew what my word would be - hope.
Hope. According to the dictionary, hope means to believe, desire, or trust; the belief that events will turn out for the best. I liked that. Most definitely, hope would be the word for 2010. Little did I know just how much I would need that word, of how greatly my hope would be tested.
Before the thaw of spring could bring new life, my hope began to be tested. One of the first trials came when the company my husband worked for closed its doors without notice. Like most families, we lived paycheck to paycheck and now that paycheck had been cut in half. Still, I knew God would provide. At least, I thought I knew, but as the weeks stretched into months with no prospects in sight, I found myself paralyzed with fear. I didn't see how God was going to work this one out. Eventually my husband did find work, but it is very hard on him physically and like most jobs, doesn't pay what he had been making. Still, we've tried to console ourselves that at least it is a job.
I felt at times like I was holding on by the very tips of my fingers...but then the encouragement would come and I was able to renew my grip. It seems that 2010 was filled with trials that challenged my hold on hope. There were trials with my own children, trials with health, trials with friends, trials with students. I'd love to say I was always brimming with hope and good cheer, but it was/is truly a daily battle to hang on. As I sit here, nearing the end of the year, I am realizing just how powerful hope can be. When I thought I was holding on to hope, hope was in fact holding on to me.
Here just a few of the scriptures that carried me through.
"Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God" (PSALM 146:5)
"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (PSALM 42:5)
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful" (HEBREWS 10:23)
So now it's time to look toward 2011, and I find a new word is resonating in my spirit: Anticipation. Dictionary.com gives this definition: realization in advance; foretaste; expectation or hope.
There are also a couple of verses that pretty much sum up what I'm feeling now:
Romans 8:18 (The Message)
18-21That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
Isaiah 43:18 - 19 (Message)
"Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is! I'm making a road through the desert, ... rivers in the badlands."
Yes, the word for this year is most definitely "anticipation."
May your new year be filled with anticipation of what God will do!