It’s hard to believe that 2012 is upon us! When I was young the years seemed to go at a snail’s pace. It seemed to take me forever to stop putting the previous year’s date on my school assignments. When I became an adult, it took a while to stop doing the same thing with my checkbook. This year, though, I started writing 2012 on a check while we were still in October 2011. That’s scary! I must really be old. Now years are whizzing by like I’m caught in H.G. Wells’ Time Machine.
I don’t mind getting older. Really I don’t! Many expensive delicacies are described as “aged to perfection.” Certain cheeses, cuts of beef, old paintings, antique furniture, classic cars, retro jewelry, distilled spirits and fine wines improve with age. Although I prefer being compared to fine wine as opposed to cheese, the point is that if we are “aging to perfection” through maturity—gaining wisdom and knowledge and valuable experience—then each year represents more than just being, as Tennessee Ernie Ford used to sing, “another day older and deeper in debt.”
Paul speaks of this maturing process from a Christian perspective. He says in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child.” What do some children do to get what they want? Some cry, “Waw-waw-waw!” Some pout. Some throw tantrums. Some hit. Some say, “If you don’t want to play my way, I’ll take my marbles and go home.” Some sing, “Everybody hates me. Nobody loves me. Think I’ll eat some worms.”
Ideally, a loving, parental hand leads a child out of such behavior. Unfortunately, sometimes we adults continue to deal with difficulties the same way we did when we were children, just not as blatantly. We harbor feelings of resentment, bitterness, and anger. And yes, sometimes we might still pout, throw a tantrum, take our marbles home and want to eat worms.
However, when one becomes a Christian, something new happens. Our Father’s loving, parental hand, through his Holy Spirit, guides us into his truth (John 16:13). We start developing the fruit of his Holy Spirit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). We feel a need to pray for those who hurt us, rather than wishing them hurt or dead. Even though we tell God our desires, we rely on his wisdom to do the right thing. We pray, “Your will be done” and more importantly, we mean it!
When we become adults, we can put away childish things (1 Corinthians 13:11). We can be secure in our belief in Jesus Christ and no longer live like children tossed to and fro (Ephesians 4:14-15).
When a Christian is “aging to perfection” the way God intends, facing another year need not be cause for regret about days gone by. It can be a time of rejoicing for what the future holds, and for praising our great God who holds our future.
Barbara Dahlgren, 2011