I remember when I bought my first car after college. It had belonged to one owner before me and still had a faint new car smell. Even more potent was the feeling of buying a car for the first time. Perhaps you can think of an experience when life brought a “new smell.”

Today, we’re on the cusp of 2018. Perhaps 2017 was a year of tremendous blessing for you, but maybe, it also brought unexpected trials or changes that have been particularly hard. For some, looking over the year doesn’t leave a warm fuzzy feeling.

While reflecting on the past has its place, even more important is focusing on what lies before us. 2018 is a gift. It’s as if God is handing us the keys to a new car that will take us both exciting and unexpected places. There will be new adventures and challenges. There might also be some flat tires or even a fender bender along the way.

We don’t know what to expect when we pass the start line of a new year, but we can hold to God’s timeless promises that offer fresh hope in 2018.

#1 – Off with the Old, On with the New

Spring cleaning is just around the corner. All of us probably have clothes in our closets that need to go. Truth be told, we probably have other things in our lives that need to go, like some habits and time-wasters.

However, the most important change we can make happens only once, and that’s the change that takes place when we invite Jesus to be our personal Lord and Savior and accept His gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). When we do, a radical transformation takes place. I love how 2 Corinthians 5:17 describes it: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (NKJV).

Sure, we believers still make our share of mistakes, but nothing can take away the newness of life that is eternally ours.

#2 – Brown Grass but Evergreen Grace

My grass is basically dead. I know this from the not-so-subtle brochures someone has started leaving at my front door for a free sod estimate. Yes, my Florida lawn is looking a little bleak right now.

On the plus side, my sod’s condition is a good visual for the promise of Isaiah 40:8, which says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever” (NKJV).

Whatever we face in the year ahead, we can run to God’s unchanging Word which is always relevant to our situation (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

#2 – Fickle Folks but One Forever Friend

Have you ever had a friend disappoint you? If you’re older than two, the answer is probably yes. Friends move away or sometimes move on with life. Sometimes, they wound and leave us wondering if we went wrong in lending out our trust.

I have good news. There is one Friend who will stay by our side no matter what we face. This Friend is Jesus Christ, “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Closing Thought

My Corolla has long since lost its new car smell, but where God plans to take me in 2018 fills me with a sense of hope and wonder. Regardless of what 2017 held, the New Year is just that—new. Commit it to God’s care, and trust Him to bring good through whatever lies ahead.

For reflection: What desires and dreams do you need to entrust to God for the New Year? What promises from His Word remind you that He knows best how to satisfy them?

 Kristen Hogrefe is the author of  The Revisionary , the first in a young adult dystopian trilogy that offers a sense of hope and heritage. She is an English teacher, blogger, and Florida girl who says yes to most adventures that involve sunshine. Connect with Kristen through her website  KristenHogrefe.com  where she challenges young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly.

Kristen Hogrefe is the author of The Revisionary, the first in a young adult dystopian trilogy that offers a sense of hope and heritage. She is an English teacher, blogger, and Florida girl who says yes to most adventures that involve sunshine. Connect with Kristen through her website KristenHogrefe.com where she challenges young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly.