Jan 3rd, 2022
Warning Labels
By: Hannah Gilbert
2 minute read 

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)

Attention, friends! 2021 and all of its troubles are over! Well, not exactly. But for many of us, the annual increase of that number signifies a fresh start, a chance to put the past behind us, to chase after new goals and pursue new dreams and go on new adventures.

And you know what else it means? New troubles, frustrations, and heartbreak. Happy New Year…?

The other day, I flipped back in my prayer journal to my first entry of 2021 and discovered a list of things I presented to the Lord last January. And as I went back over my hybrid handwriting of cursive and print, reading through the list of requests and unresolved situations that were on my heart at the time, my thoughts had one primary theme: Wow, if only I had known…

  • If only I had known how God would resolve that stressful situation…
  • If only I had known how that stressful situation would get worse before it got better…
  • If only I had known about that wonderful thing God was about to bring into my life…
  • If only I had known that extremely difficult thing was coming…

This was my realization after entering back into the mind of clueless little January 2021 Hannah: A lot happened in my life this past year—both good and bad, wonderful and difficult—that I had very little control over, and despite my well-intended 2022 resolutions, goals, hopes, and dreams, this year will be the same way.

This life has always been and will always be unpredictable, and Jesus himself warned us about the impending nature of hardship in this broken, sin-tainted world we live in. But friends, as you start out this year, please don’t forget this precious gift we have as followers of Jesus: We are not at the mercy of our circumstances when it comes to having hope, joy, and peace! We find them in the One who has already overcome this world and who wants to carry us and love us through the valleys we walk through while here. That means we can enter into this next trip around the sun confident and “laugh[ing] without fear of the future” (​​Proverbs 31:25).

Have you surrendered this upcoming year to Him, come what may? Go ahead and tell Him your hopes, dreams, fears—all of it. And ask Him for help in remaining anchored in His love, joy, hope, and peace through everything that comes your way.

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