View from my balcony in Prague on Epiphany morning.
New Year and New Beginnings
January marks the month that I arrived in Prague three years ago. But this year was the first time since I got here that enough snow fell to allow children to go sledding. Not only was the snowfall pretty, but fresh snow always reminds me of new beginnings and Christ’s forgiveness, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18 (ESV)
Many people make New Year’s resolutions in the hopes that a new year will bring changes in their lives and habits. I don’t make resolutions, but I do have things to look forward to this year. I am hopeful that our Czech congregation in Prague will get a permanent pastor, and we can work together to reach the unchurched. Soon, I will have a new Czech tutor while my regular teacher is on maternity leave; the new teacher speaks no English and I hope that my Czech will improve even more. This spring, I look forward to helping more Czech church workers with their English skills.
But, as the pandemic restrictions and lockdowns continue into the new year in Prague, and vaccines are delayed, perhaps a better question would be, “What does God have planned for us this year?”
My intermediate English class is reading and discussing the book, The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom. It’s a hard book to read, not because of the language difficulty, but because we are forced to discuss uncomfortable topics about life inside German concentration camps during WWII. The Czechs know firsthand from their history the evil that prevailed. But we also discuss each week in class how God’s light shone in the darkness, even in Ravensbruck. We are encouraged and hopeful because of His grace, His love, His mercy and the power of His Word. We are reminded of Romans 8:28 (NIV), “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Though some of our mission outreach plans have changed, God has opened new doors to share His Word. We know that God’s light still shines in these dark times, and He is in control of what happens in the new year. “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)
This month we remember the power of God’s Word:
For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)