“Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places.” Isaiah 40:3-4
Looking back over the past year, feelings of gratitude are mingled with regret. Gratitude for how our Heavenly Father has sustained us and carried us through, and possibly regret over missed opportunities or mistakes. The spectrum of emotion varies equally regarding our outlook of a brand new year, and for 2020, a new decade. From wide-eyed wonder and expectation of great things for some to melancholy indifference for others, the scale of hope is as varied as there are people.
For our timeless Creator, speculation and questioning of the future are invalid pastimes. Unsurprised by the events of past years, and fully involved in our futures, He offers instruction, correction, and hope to each of us, His children. In Isaiah 40, the prophet declares the Lord holds all the oceans in His hand, can measure the heavens with His fingers (v12), and never grows weak or weary (v28c). In contrast to Himself, He is fully aware of our weakness and weariness, and gives “power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” (v29)
For this new year, the Lord has proclaimed a resolution and a promise. A directive that is deeper than the normal resolutions we make to eat better, exercise more or give more. This directive is to set things in order – clear away the clutter that distracts or encumbers, fill in the low and empty places of doubt and anxiety, bring down the high places of pride and snares, straighten the curves of deception and lying, smooth out the rough areas of our tongues and jesting, and walk in the truth. (v3-4)
This call to action is a revisited invitation to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, and it also accompanies a promise. New strength is promised to those who trust in the Lord. (v31) Becoming weak, tired, and exhausted in this life is a reality for each of us, but the One who is everlasting and does not grow weak has promised that we will soar, run, and walk. When considering the new year resolutions, let a renewed trust in our Heavenly Father, to be all He says He is, motivate our outlook and planning. With His mighty power, gentleness, and providence, we can soar, run, and walk throughout 2020 and the decade to come.