By Charlotte Gleason
Sometimes, my age surprises me. In my head, I am still in my early twenties, looking forward to “the next big thing.” But I experience daily reminders of my actual age: the takeover of white hair, a slow-moving body after a twenty-something physical feat, and referencing time in decades rather than years. Time continues to pass in spite of my denial. The arrival of the New Year reminds me of its fast pace even more than a birthday. I become reflective, and like millions of Americans, I think about change and resolution.
But I am attracted to the optimism of New Year’s resolutions. As created beings, we cannot help but hope for change, long for something improved. Albert M. Wolters points out that the Bible starts with man and woman in an undeveloped garden, but it ends in a civilized and glorious city. This creational maturation still occurs despite the fall. As Wolters rightly claims, “The ravages of sin do not annihilate the normative creational development of civilization” (39). We want to keep building and bettering.
Many of us, however, look back on 2016, grimace, and wonder if we might be reverting to some kind of primordial land with grunting cavemen, or morphing into some kind of Orwellian world with fake news and invasive technology. Unfortunately, I become so overwhelmed by the wrong that I forget I am a new creation. I live in a fallen world, yes, but the giver of life and all that is good lives in me. God continues to build among the rubble of sin.
The day after Christmas, I sat down for a brief quiet time, staring at the Christmas decorations much like a wrecking ball must eye a dilapidated building: I couldn’t wait to rid myself of pine needles. I opened to Matthew 10, where Jesus provides his disciples with a job description of sorts. He warns them that they will be “sheep in the midst of wolves,” but they were to be “shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (NIV 10:16). These words provide sound advice as 2017 approaches. We live in a wolfish world, but we also live in world where cities are being built. Civilizations continue to develop only because we serve a Creator who is intimately involved with his creation. I, too, want to take part in this maturation.
*Wolters, Albert M. Creation Regained – Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1985.