On January 1, 2021, we all took off on board flight 2021 and congratulations to us all who made it to the end of the flight which landed on December 31, 2021. It was indeed not an easy flight as we all encountered one storm or the other in the course of the flight. Many who started with us on this flight, unfortunately were not able to end this flight with us. We lost them. May their souls rest in peace, Amen.
When the flight took off, the Chief Pilot, God our Father, assured us of a smooth take off and landing, but did not assure us of a smooth flight. For those who will hold on firmly to their faith in the Chief Pilot, even though the flight may be rough and tough, they will safely land.
Unfortunately, due to the heavy storms of life many of us encountered, some lost their faith in the Chief Pilot and gave up on Him. We pray for such people, and ask God, our Chief Pilot to forgive them and still continue to let His face shine on them. Yes, they gave up on Him but He never gave up on them, but rather, He still, out of His merciful love, brought them safely to the end of the flight.
To all of us who made it safely to the end of the flight 2021, I say congratulations once again to you all and would remind us that it is by the special grace of God that we have made it. It is not as if we are better or more righteous than those who didn’t make it to the end. It is not by power, nor by might, but by God’s Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). It is not by our own righteousness but because of God’s mercy that we are still alive to see the end of the flight 2021… ‘it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassion fails not; they are new every morning’ (Lamentations 3:22-23). So let us with the psalmist give praise and thanksgiving to the almighty God, our Chief Pilot, for all He has done, for all He is doing, and for all He is yet to do. As long as we are still alive, we should give praise to God… ‘Let everything that has breath, give praise to the Lord’ (Psalm 150:6).
It doesn’t matter what happened during the course of last year’s flight, we must not keep living in the past, all we can say is, ‘dear past (2021), thanks for all the lessons, dear future (2022), I am ready. Dear friends, I therefore welcome you on board flight 2022.
Congratulations to us all, for the privilege of been amongst those who made it to this flight. As usual, we have chosen God to be the Chief Pilot of this flight. We do not know where this flight is heading to. We do not know what dangers or blessings are ahead of us. We do not know the challenges that we are going to encounter on this journey. We may be uncertain about all these, but one thing is certain, God is in charge and He has a plan for us all (Jeremiah 29:11). We may be full of cares, burdens, anxieties, but He is saying to us all right at the beginning of this journey through 2022, “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you, he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22), “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1Peter 5:7), “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you.”
If we must cast all our cares, burdens, anxieties, on Him, then we must let go of whatever happened last year, learn from them, and become stronger to confront whatever is before us in the new year… “Leave your hard times behind, be a stronger person with new confidence and celebrate the new year for a new start” (fofreestatus.blogspot.com).
2021 is now called past. It has come and gone, even though it has left its mark in our lives in one way of the other, but we must not allow anything negative we encountered last year, to follow us into the new. The new year is a blank page and we need to start writing on it. If we start writing old things that have passed on a new page, that may not work out well for us. Leave your past to the Lord, He knows how to right every wrong and change every mess into a message.
This is what our Chief Pilot is saying to us through the prophet Isaiah at the beginning of this year, “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you jot perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
It was poet Juansen Dizon who said: “I hope you realise that every day is a fresh start for you. That every sunrise is a new chapter in your life waiting to be written.” So let each day of this new flight be lived with full energy, vigour, courage and trust in the Most powerful and almighty God in whom we are safe.
Fasten your seat belt of faith, relax and enjoy your flight. Happy new year to us all.
Fr Alvan Ibeh SMMM