I am a New Year fanatic; there is something captivating to my spirit at the beginning of a New Year. With new dates and fresh months ahead, I love the idea of new beginnings. But I welcomed this year differently.
I had just left church, after celebrating the New Year, EST. It’s a tradition many west coast churches observe in order to, honestly, celebrate twice. We scream happy New Year with our church family and friends EST then go home and get ready to do it again at midnight PST. With 12:00 AM approaching, my family and I decided to go celebrate for the second time with some friends. As we drove along the freeway talking about resolutions and what we wanted to change, we were delayed in traffic because of an accident that just happened. No one was sure what kind of accident or the outcome, but all we knew that something bad had just happened. What started off as a 10-minute wait in traffic quickly became 20 + minutes. As time grew, so did all our nerves. Statements like, “I hope we don’t spend our New Year on this highway” or “What is taking them so long?” became the anthem of our night.
Then a “finally”, was whispered from my nephew sitting in the back seat as the traffic began to move again. I quickly realized our thoughts of finally, will later be someone else’s cry of too soon. As I drove, I had to pass the scene slowly because fragments from a car were shattered across all four lanes. As my eyes followed the pieces and my heart still in anticipation to celebrate a happy New Year, I saw what would be a sad ending of a year for 2 people.
The pieces shattered across the lanes belonged to a car thrown to the right side of the road. We would later find out the demolished vehicle was occupied by a 22 year old and his 24-year old friend. They had lost control after hitting the same median strip I impatiently waited near for 20 minutes. Their fireworks were replaced by a fire that broke out after the vehicle flipped 4 times, destroying itself beyond recognition. And just like that, they no longer had any new dates or fresh months to celebrate.
My emotions ran rampant, as empathy invaded my excitement. For these young men wouldn’t get to add or erase any changes to their lives. They no longer had time to plan resolutions and if they did have any, they no longer had any chances to fulfill them.
I questioned God; why did our father not allow enough grace for everyone to see the New Year? Was God not impressed with the year change and our exciting resolutions?
And I got my answer, NO.
You see, “Through the Lord’s mercies, we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not, they are new EVERY MORNING” - Lamentations 3:22-23. I had to realize, car accidents, illnesses and death are not signs of Gods lack of compassion or grace. God’s grace is new every morning, even on the days we are going to die. This accident, as tragic as it may be, was not strong enough to keep those men from God, if their hearts where set on him. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives” Palms 23:6. All the days of our lives, even the last day, because flesh is what dies in accidents, mercy is why the soul doesn’t.
So yes this is a sad event but what is even more tragic is any person driving past the scene into the New Year without a resolution to get in a committed relationship with God. A New Year means nothing without Jesus. It is only through him, we truly receive new beginnings. It is there I realized a broken headlight from a car wreck does not shine brighter than the glory of being with him for eternity. God is concerned with daily resolution to renew our minds, because tomorrow isn’t promised, no matter what holiday or event it may be.
It is great to have resolutions and beautiful to have goals, but they mean nothing if your heart isn’t fixated on God today. Life isn’t concerned with your new year, but grace is merciful and shows us, God is concerned with who we are right now. Through Christ, all those lost before the New Year, are far more blessed, then those going into 2016 without renewed minds focused on Christ. So I am joyful in whom you want to be this year, but I pray you correct your relationship with God now. I now have a new love for beginnings. This love doesn’t wait for a year, but I wake up with it daily, and I renew as needed. New beginnings are not just for January, because death doesn’t care, even if it’s December 31. LOVE YOU