A Happy New Year to us all!
As I conclude my time with family and friends in South Africa and prepare for my first engagement in Nigeria, I find myself looking back upon 2013 both proud of the work that the World Methodist Council has done and excited about what lay ahead.
The time around New Year is always a time in which people seek renewal – we may want to lose a few extra pounds we’ve gained over the Christmas holiday, or we promise ourselves that this year we will look after our finances more studiously – whatever it is, I hope that each of us manage to find a way to make all of these wishes become a reality.
The thing that we all must know is that our only source of renewal and hope is through Jesus Christ.
I look at year-end news stories and I hear tales of dark days. I see war and suffering, and I hear even fellow clergy speaking of the world as if the end of times is fast approaching. My friends, I respectfully disagree with colleagues and reports from naysayers. I believe in better days to come, and a brighter future ahead.
My friends, the answer is so simple that it almost feels contrite to our cynical souls: God has a plan for us, and that plan is good. Once we are able to place our trust in the Lord, good things will happen.
2013 was a year in which I helped my home country say goodbye to a beloved global icon. It was also a year when one of my closest friends and confidants in the World Methodist Council passed away unexpectedly. Both of these things happened close together and felt like enough to shake me. But instead I reminded myself that God will provide. “Be strong and of good courage, don’t be afraid, neither dismayed for I the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9b
A year is over, and a new one begins. Instead of mourning its passing or worrying about days to come, we need to place our trust in the Lord. The best is yet to come for each and every one of us as well as the World Methodist Council. I’m proud to be a part of it.
My prayer is that during 2014 we will learn to love unconditionally and receive God’s blessings in every area of our lives,
Ivan M Abrahams