e978dd1c993e0613_shutterstock_163763456.preview2013 will soon be history—the subject of examination rather than experience. The next few hours will be a time of hindsight and resolve for the future. Grace is often wrapped up in hindsight and future happiness locked in our understanding of the past. Like the Christmas gifts we have recently opened it is only when we get through the wrapping paper of past events that we realize that those bitter providences were in fact filled with blessings. Solomon said, “Better is the end of a thing that the beginning” (Ecclesiastes 7:8). The end is good simply because we were given grace in perseverance and accomplishment through difficulty. The end is good also because we have a better understanding of the year in hindsight; we can form a better judgment of all that has happened, and we can see the Lord’s hand in circumstances that we foolishly thought He had abandoned us to. Now, at “the end of the thing,” we can look back and say with the psalmist that it was good—with all of the trials and hardships—because through them we have a better understanding of the Lord and we know Him in ways that we did not previously and He relates to us in ways that we never before experienced (Psalm 119:67 and 71).

When we understand the Lord of history, the One who “upholds all things”  and who is in control of all our circumstances, we may discover that the annus horribilis—the horrible year of trials and disappointments—may turn out to be in fact an “annus mirabilis”—a wonderful year of spiritual growth. When we filter our circumstances through the grid of the gospel we experience the “Lord’s mercies” (Lamentations 3:23). But the Lord does not speak of them as annual blessings; He renews them daily—they are “new every morning.” Let us resolve in 2014 to search for Him, to know Him, and to experience Him in the daily routine of life. Pray that we might know Him in every sense of the phrase: “Jesus Christ Our Lord.”

Follow our daily devotionals through January as we consider the life and ministry of Christ our Redeemer. The team at thinkGOSPEL wishes you a very happy New Year.