Yesterday, I had my yearly health checkup, blood work and all. My biannual dental checkup was the day before. On both counts, I received good reports. Good to go for another year! (That is, if I don’t blow it with poor decisions regarding exercise and nutrition). Truth be told, those good reports were the result of deliberate decisions I’d made and how I lived this past year.

You may be one who is relieved that 2022 is finally over. Your sentiment may go something like, “Let’s just hit the delete button on the old year and begin the new one with a clean slate.” Perhaps your health report in 2022 was negative, or your dentist said that you need a root canal. Reality check: there is no delete button for what has happened last year or, for that matter, any number of years that went before.

We like to entertain the notion that if we ignore what has gone before as if it had been a bad dream, and plunge head first into the next, everything will be fine. Whew! Nevertheless, the consequences of our past decisions and actions remain.

God wants to love you THROUGH the tough trials of past year(s), and USE them in your life for your good. He who gave His Son intimately understands what you are going through and offers you everlasting life and hope in place of all that turmoil. When we, from our heart, repent of our sins and, as we make that repentance clearly seen by the people who see us day-to-day, we are forgiven. Because Jesus paid our debt, our heavenly Father no longer holds that sin against us. The result is that you can be established with a clean slate in God’s family.

Those things from our past can become good teachers for us in the new year. Perhaps you’ve made a disastrous decision or suffered a tragic loss. You’d love to wind back the clock and redo that awful moment or hug your loved one again. By God’s grace that bad decision and awful grief can become tools the Lord Jesus uses to move you forward. If we allow Him, He can take that terrible decision and use it to redirect you to making better decisions. He knows the heart-break of your loss; yet, He is able to give you daily strength and increase your love for those family members and friends who remain.

This new year offers a fresh start – a clean slate, if you will. ALL that has been said and done during the past year is a challenge to us today to receive from our loving Heavenly Father HIS perspective, HIS provision and HIS direction.

This means that while HE forgives me for all that I did, HE is the One who miraculously, wonderfully works all things together for my good right now (see Romans 8 – ALL of it!). He is able to cause every loss, bad decision or mistake to bring Him glory.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, [he is] a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 LSB)