The start of a new year is traditionally known as the best time to make new resolutions or promises. Such measures become not only a guiding compass that will lead life's priorities throughout the year, but will also become a motivating factor that will give new meaning to life. The beginning of a new year, for many, has also been a precious time to adjust certain aspects of life that did not go well the previous year. Certainly, this is an excel lent occasion to make good resolutions for a better life in the personal, familiar, professional, and spiritual contexts.

I believe that it is an opportunity where we can go a little beyond the simple resolutions and remember the importance of certain fundamental truths that sustain life. There are certain expressions we hear every day, and although they are not absolute truths, they teach practical lessons that may help us in the 365 days we have before us.


This is a very popular saying. In the Bible, we find an account that illustrates this truth. John 11 narrates the story that one of Jesus' best friends became ill. Lazarus was dying; Mary and Martha sent a message asking for help. )esus' answer was: "This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of Cod, so that the Son of Cod may be glorified by means of it" (verse 4).

Nevertheless, in verses 14 and 15, Jesus says: "Lazarus is dead; and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." There seems to be a contradiction in Jesus' words. However, we find an important principle here. Good things and bad things may often have similarities or look alike. But no matter how bad things may look, we must trust that God is working on something good for us.

Many times where we see tribulations, God sees an opportunity to develop our characters (Rom. 5:3-5). Where sometimes we see only pain, God sees an instrument to cure our hearts from something temporary (2 Cor. 1:4). What we call a trial, God calls an opportunity to develop empathy for others (2 Cor. 1:4). Where we see struggle, God sees a laboratory for shaping and strengthening our faith (2 Cor 1:9). Where we see misery, God sees a pulpit from which we may demonstrate His grace (Phil. 1). What we call suffering, God sometimes may call discipline (Heb. 12:5-11).


Here is another common expression. To better illustrate, let's go back to the account of John 11. Jesus receives the news that his friend is sick and needs urgent help. Lazarus was dying; Jesus, however, stayed two days longer in the place where he was" (verse 6). Doesn't this sound bad to you? What kind of friend delays so much? How would you feel if you needed help from a friend on Monday and he came on Thursday?

Why was Jesus late? The answer is simple: "I don't know." But we know Jesus' character; we know that it was certainly for a good reason.

Are you also waiting for something in life? Is the answer to your prayer delayed? Perhaps words of encouragement and recognition never seem to reach you. There is no doubt that these are the hardest moments in life. Many times we are tempted to think that God doesn't care about us, and we get discouraged, thinking that our problems are insignificant for the Lord. When we think that, we miss the opportunity to understand that Cod's apparent "delays" are always there to develop something in us, never to discourage us.

Consider some reasons why Cod may delay or be silent about some aspect of your life:

Delays of mercy: This might mean that Cod is giving you time for repentance. It is also possible that He is keeping the knowledge of something that now should not be revealed.
Delays for the development of our faith: One of the hardest moments in Christian life is when we feel silence from God. At times God wants to see how much we trust His Word, although evidences seem to be against us.
Delays waiting for an opportunity: Sometimes God waits until we are calm, so He can work with us. Our problems may be a great opportunity for God to act in our life.
Delays for the preparation: The delay may be a divine strategy in preparing us for certain circumstances of life. Sometimes we ask for things that we are not ready to receive.
Delays that go beyond human comprehension: The Bible says that God's ways are many times inscrutable. There are moments, as in the case of the patriarch Job, when no explanation is given.

In these cases, trusting is the best and wisest attitude.

When life puts you in a difficult situation this year, remember that God's silence does not mean inactivity from Him. "Silence" or "delay" may seem painful, but it is sometimes necessary.


Two days later, Jesus told his disciples "Let's go into ]udea again" (verse 7). The disciples didn't think this was a good idea or good timing. The last time Jesus went to Judea, some Jews tried to kill Him (verse 8). So they advised the Lord that it would be best to stay away from there.

Jesus answered them with, difficult words: "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any one walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if any one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him" (verses 9 and 10).

These words are difficult to interpret. We may do things best when we see where we are going. We'll certainly save time when we work in daylight. Consider the fact that, in Bible times, there was no electricity.

The difficult task here is to understand what Jesus was trying to say with such words in the context of Lazarus' death, and what the words mean to us today. I believe Jesus was saying to the disciples that He only had the daylight and that He needed to use it doing the work His Father had given Him. In the spiritual context, to walk in the light means to be obedient to the Father. John presents this truth when he says: "If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:6, 7).

How do we apply this to our lives? Very simple: The wise person uses the time granted in this life to do what God asks him to accomplish. In the Bible we find clear instructions about God's will. The problem is that sometimes, because we have objections to observing such precepts, we resist obeying Him. For instance, we know that the Lord asks 10 percent of our income (tithe) for Himself, but because we have other financial responsibilities, we resist obeying this precept. Jesus is trying to tell us that if we don't do what's right today, we'll end up stumbling in the dark tomorrow.

The Bible also tells us that we need to forgive those who offend us. But if we do not desire to forgive our brother, we run the risk of stumbling in the dark. In other words, do not leave for tomorrow that which should be done today.


The disciples did not want to go back to Judea. When Jesus said that Lazarus had fallen asleep, they thought this was a good sign and that Lazarus was getting better. Of course, if he was getting better, there was no need to go to Judea, right? No, wrong! Then Jesus explained, "He is dead."

It is interesting what Thomas, also known as Didymus, says: "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (verse 16). How many times do we identify ourselves with Thomas? How many times do we assume negative and pessimistic attitudes in life, therefore missing the possibility of contemplating a miracle or blessing! Although life puts us in complex situations, we may choose to behold the future with confidence and hope.

The year 2005 is gone, and a new year is before us. Let us not waste this precious time looking back, cultivating frustration for things that should have been done but weren't. The year 2006 offers each one of us new possibilities and opportunities. It is up to us to choose how to live and what to do for God and for others. Let us remember, God is in control. He loves us and never makes mistakes. Let us trust Him, do His will, and allow Him to continue accomplishing the work He began in us one day, and we'll surely have a happy 2006

General Conference Ministerial Association.