Everyone I know gets super excited about New Years'. They mark new beginnings. We reflect on the previous year, make resolutions and hope the next year turns out better. There are fireworks and a lot of excitement. New Years are fun.
Looking in Retrospect.
As we look back on what 2019 brought us, it is necessary that we do it through the lens of the gospel. We would not want to miss out on the many chances at spiritual growth that were thrown in our paths. They could come in a variety of circumstances; unsavory, joyful or even the normal. In the account of Mathew, after the Savior performed the miracle of feeding 5,000 men from five loaves and two fishes, leaving twelve basketfuls, his disciples ended up asking the same question of how they could feed 4,000 men in the wilderness when Jesus desired to feed them. They repeated their question because they failed to recognize the miracle of the loaves when it was performed the first time. They had missed out on the fact that the Son of God was able to do that and even more. They had forgotten, even for a fleeting moment, that they were with the Messiah.
When our hearts are hardened and our eyes are blinded, we fail to recognize the loving, guiding hands of the Savior in directing our paths. We end up repeating our questions over and over again. When we fail to recognize the Savior's help through the previous year, we would enter the new one with the same requests. We ought to look back through the lens of the gospel, with gratitude for the experiences and lessons learned and the physical and spiritual growth they came with. When we do this, we would be surprised how much we have to be grateful for.
Looking Forward. 'Are they aligned with the will of the Lord?'
We should bear a question in mind as we make our resolutions. 'Are they aligned with the Lord?'. Then comes the question, 'how will I know if they are?'. President Gordon B Hinckley gives the perfect response after reading Moroni 7:13,16-17, he said, “that is the test when all is said and done. Does it persuade one to do good, to rise, to stand tall, to do the right thing, to be kind, to be generous? if it invites to do good, it is of God. If it inviteth to do evil, it is of the devil....' Are the things we are aspiring to do going to help us brighten the world, through our words and in our actions, with the light of the gospel? and will we be true disciples of the Savior as we do these things? Doing the will of the Lord is not always the easiest. There will be times when we would be humiliated, mocked and mistreated. If this happens, we wonder if it would have been easier to just stick with our wills but when we make the love for the Savior and His atoning sacrifice the reason for choosing to go the extra mile, it would always be worth it. We would be able to live with ourselves knowing that we chose the higher way. We would remain of good cheer. We are not alone when we pursue His will. As we try, He bears us up and fills us with his ennobling power so that we can do more than we would otherwise have been able to do.
Our wills are not always the Will of the Lord. We would think that when we live the right way, then the Lord will succumb His Will to ours. However, when we live the right way, we rather become aligned with Him. Truth is constant. The Savior lived the right way and He set the perfect example of us being aligned with the Lord as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane when he pleaded to have this cup taken from him, then in the humblest surrender, he asked that the Lord’s will be done.
The Lord does not have to align His will to ours and His will may not be what we expect but when we know He loves us and desires our happiness, we can have the hope that everything will eventually turn in our own favors just like Isaiah prophesied of the Savior in Mosiah 14:11, that “He shall see the travails of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” After going through the most unimaginable pain in the most sacred expression of the purest love and humility, He had joy.
We also would if we trust in the will of the Lord. The year 2020 will come with its own experiences, some may be expected, others could cause us to spin but we can be assured that it will be most fruitful when we take all we can from it. It may not be the easiest but we were not created to be ordinary. We were created to do hard things and we can as we bear in mind that we can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us. He loves us, desires our happiness and most importantly, He lives!