‘“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him’ (1 Corinthians 2:9)
This time of year is full of possibilities. We have a whole year ahead of us, fresh and unspoiled. It’s a blank sheet of paper: a story waiting to be written. A blank page is an exciting thing for a writer. It’s a chance to make decisions about the story they will tell and the message they want to put across. So, what story will you tell with your 2022?
At BCT, we know the story we want to tell. We believe the world is a wonderful place, that children have limitless potential and that, with the right support, communities are more than able to help their children thrive, in the name of Jesus. But we also see children all over the world being neglected, exploited and abused because of adults’ misguided beliefs or outright selfishness. And we see structural and institutional inequality which leaves people in the global south poor, hungry and lacking essential services. At the same time, we know from our experience of God’s faithfulness that change is possible. So, this year, we will write a story of hope. We will continue speaking up against injustice and taking action to help those caught in the wheels of the machine. A better world is coming and our story for 2022 will give a glimpse of this better world.
But a blank page can be dangerous, too. If the writer thinks for too long about the choices they have and how they could begin, it can paralyse them. The blank page starts to feel overwhelming, writer’s block sets in, and nothing gets written at all. Budding writers are often told, ‘Don’t try to get it right: just get it writ.’ In other words, don’t spend so long worrying about writing the perfect story that you end up writing nothing at all. It’s much more effective to write a rough draft (even a VERY rough draft) and edit it later. Let’s not fret so much about how we’ll use 2022 that we don’t get around to doing anything at all!
This year, we’re unlikely to get everything right the first time. Even with the best of intentions, we will make mistakes – there will probably be a few plot holes and kinks in characterisation to fix along the way. It’s comforting to know that God, our Great Editor, understands the story far better than we do, and that he is more than capable of tweaking and refining the story as we write. The finished version of a story is quite often a long way from what the writer had in mind when they started the first draft. We may well find the same thing in December, when we look back at the plan we started with for 2022 and how it compares with the finished article. Perhaps God will surprise us with how he has taken on our plans and improved them.
I pray that this year, God will inspire you with a great plan and a great story to tell. I pray that he’ll help you overcome the blank page and spur you on to get started. And I pray that he will make our stories more than we could ever have imagined.