If Anne of Green Gables was right – that “looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them” – what might lift our spirits and provide us reason for optimism heading into 2022?
By most measures, there’s been no shortage of bad news this past year. From the ongoing pandemic and all its related inane and illogic politics to bad and destructive policies about human sexuality and gender such as allowing biological males to use female restrooms, a dramatic rise in crime and overall lawlessness, a breakdown of the supply chain, the tragic and preventable deaths of Marines in Afghanistan, ongoing religious persecution in the Middle East, the swearing in of a new class of liberal-minded federal judges and the ongoing reckless spending of taxpayer dollars – it’s easy to be sober-minded about our current prospects.
Yet, as Christians, we’re called to be hopeful people. As the late Pope John Paul II declared, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song!”
We read in Lamentations, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (3:22-23).
So, with eyes wide open, but considering what good God can do in ’22 – here are five things we can look forward to in the coming year:
- The Dobbs Case: Officially titled “Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization,” the nine Supreme Court justices are expected to rule on a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks. The tone and direction of the questioning during the December 1st hearing left those of use in the pro-life movement hopeful the High Court is open to allowing states to set some limits on abortion, if not completely overturning the tragic and bad law of Roe. We’ve been here before – but most court watchers feel this time is different. A decision is expected by the end of June 2022.
- Carson v. Makin:Argued just weeks ago, the state of Maine has been prohibiting parents from using government funds to enroll their children in private religious schools – despite the fact other parents can use those same funds to enroll their sons and daughters in private nonreligious schools. During the December hearing, a majority of the justices seemed convinced Maine’s policy was unconstitutionally discriminating against faith-based schools. Look for a win for religious liberty sometime in the spring of 2022.
- The Midterm Elections:It’s an old adage that excesses are generally their own undoing. It was Lord Acton, the English politician, who famously said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” At the tail end of 2021, conservatives were given some hope when Congress failed to pass a massive social spending overhaul that previously seemed inevitable. Brace yourself for robust and spirited policy debates over competing governing philosophies in the coming year. All evidence suggests a legislative course correction is coming.
- The Course of COVID-19:Since the onset of the global pandemic, over 820,000 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 here in the United States and over 5.4 million worldwide. These losses represent a devastating turn for families and friends of those who have died. The ongoing uncertainty of the virus’ trajectory, along with shifting government directives, have left everyone frustrated and on edge as debates continue to rage over the best course of both prevention and treatment. But medical professionals remain hopeful that the emergence of a weaker strain of the virus, coupled with a better understanding and methods of treatment, signals we’re now closer to the end of the pandemic than the beginning.
- A Better Appreciation for the Essential Nature of Worship:At the outset of the pandemic, most churches closed – many voluntarily and others due to government mandate. In the two years since, a consensus has emerged that like grocery stores and other outlets deemed “essential” – corporate worship is to the Christian like water and air is to all of us. Americans are learning to live with the virus – and we must support and pray for our pastors and church personnel as they continue to serve and provide this essential service to believers. Even as COVID cases rise this winter, don’t look for churches to close their doors in 2022.
Of course, there are far more than just five things to look forward to in the coming year. This is just a start. What would you add? The sheer fact that you woke up today suggests God has a plan and a purpose for your life – but it’s up to you to lean into Him and welcome all the challenges and opportunities 2022 will inevitably provide.
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