The start of a new year brings joy, anticipation, and even some fear as we are unsure of what is to come in the next 365 days. We set goals for ourselves, we make plans, and we have expectations, but sometimes things do not go as we planned. Many things will happen this year that we did not see coming. There will be surprises, unanticipated events, and unforeseen circumstances.
The better prepared we can be for what lies ahead the more fulfilled our year can be. No one has a crystal ball with the ability to predict and reveal every event that will impact this year, but there are some things we can be sure will take place. No matter who we are or what season of life we find ourselves in here are seven things to expect in 2022.
In 2022, there will be times of joy in happiness that come into every life. Christians are told to rejoice constantly (Phil. 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:16). Our joy comes from the Lord (Neh. 8:10). While it is sometimes difficult to rejoice while we are walking through life’s valleys, we should remember that we can count on times of joy being present in 2022. No one lives life in a constant ditch of despair—or at least we do not have to. God sends his sun and rain on the just and on the unjust, and that means that joy and happiness will find their way into every life at some point this year (Matt. 5:45).
This means that we need to be alert, appreciative, and aware of when good times happen. Let us not waste the joyous moments complaining or wishing things were better. When the moments (or seasons) of joy flood our lives this year, let’s pause and enjoy it. Whether it is with loved ones, times with God’s people, or enjoying some soul-refreshing recreation, let’s remember that every good gift comes from God (James 1:17). You will have times to smile and laugh this year, be on the lookout for those times, and when they come, remember to look up and give thanks (Eph. 5:20).
Someone has said, “the death toll never increases, it has always been one life per person.” I do not mean for this point to be pessimistic, but death is a reality that will eventually come into every life (Heb. 9:27). None of us can be certain of when our time will come, but we know that it will (Psalm 89:48). As we approach 2022, we can live more faithfully and fruitfully if we keep in mind that this year could be our last. In 2022, there will be people close to us that will leave this world, die unexpectedly, and maybe even lose their lives in tragedy (see 2 Sam 14:14). We should pray that God helps us to remember how short our time is (Psalm 89:47).
The way to prepare for death is not by agonizing over its reality but by making sure we are in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ (John 5:24-25; Rom. 8:1). As Tim Keller wrote, “those who want to think about death the least often need to be thinking about it the most.” Death will come for some this year, and we should be ready. Let’s be ready to comfort those who need our comfort, to prepare those who need to be prepared, and be ready to depart if our time comes (Rom. 12:15).
We are commanded to make the most of every opportunity (Eph. 5:16, NIV). We need to make the best use of our time by walking wisely (Col. 4:5), but this can only be done if we know that opportunities are coming and we capitalize on them. 2022 will give us many opportunities to use our time and talents for the Lord. We will be given chances to share the gospel with the lost (Matt. 9:37-38; John 4:35). We will be given opportunities to love others the same way that Christ has loved us (1 Cor. 16:14). We will be given the opportunity to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord (2 Pet. 3:18). We will be given the opportunity to flee temptation and choose righteousness instead (1 Cor. 10:13). We will be given the opportunity to help those who are in need and do good to others (Gal. 6:10).
All these opportunities will mean nothing if we do not make the most of them. If we think a better time will come or that we will have a more convenient season to practice Christianity we will miss out. If we wait for the perfect scenario, we will squander what God gives us. Opportunities are all around us. Stay vigilant, and when you see them take advantage because the time is short.
4. Difficulty and Hardship
If we are honest none of us like hardship, but we all have to deal with it. Hardship does not ask our permission to come into our lives, it just comes. While we should live wisely and godly and try to keep unnecessary difficulty from entering our lives, we should realize that hardship comes into the life of even the most pious (Job 5:7; 14:1). There will be difficult things for us to face this year, so it would be wise to prepare our hearts and minds ahead of time. There will be financial setbacks, relationship strains, disagreements, and bad news from the doctors. We should resolve now that when those times come, we will run closer to God and not further away (Psalm 46:1).
We are told that hardship helps to better form and shape us into the mature people God wants us to be, so there is a sense in which we should welcome it (Rom. 5:2-5; James 1:2-4, 1:12). While all our difficulties are not the same, and some are bearing heavier burdens than others, we should remember that we all have burdens to bear (Gal. 6:5). Be kind to others who are facing life’s storms. Be patient with those who are hanging on for dear life. Do not judge others too harshly who are struggling. Remember that we are all weak mortals in need of God’s grace and mercy. Hardships are on the way, but God will be with us. There is nothing coming that we have to fear because God has promised not to abandon us but to abide with us (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5-6).
Since the first time the gospel was preached people have been becoming Christians (Acts 2:41). This year will be just like the others: God will be growing his kingdom as people respond to the gospel and he adds them to his church (Acts 2:47). God has promised that his kingdom would stand forever, so we should expect it to continue to grow and blossom in 2022 just like it has from the beginning (Dan. 2:44). In congregations throughout the world, people will hear the gospel and decide to give their lives over to Jesus (Rom. 6:17). We can share the gospel expecting this to happen and knowing that God’s word never returns to him empty (Isa. 55:10-11).
People who were once enemies of Jesus will become his friends. Those who were once indifferent to the gospel will become infatuated with its truth. Let’s do what we can to be a part of this. God will not miraculously communicate the gospel to the lost, he will do it through us. Let’s be willing instruments, prepared to see all God will do through our efforts.
God wants us to grow and mature (Col. 1:28). We need to continue to walk in the light and produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). People can change—and people will change in 2022—I hope to be one of them. When we see people in our families and congregations grow this year, let’s not hold them in suspicion or wait for them to fall again. Instead, we should remember that God is always working on people.
God always works in the lives of those who allow him to do so. In 2022, expect people to grow closer to God who were previously lukewarm or distant. Let that be you. There is so much you and I cannot control, but we can come as close to God as we choose (James 4:8). In 2022, some people will grow in the Christian graces and exhibit more of the spirit of Christ than they ever have previously. I want to be among that number, don’t you (2 Pet. 1:5-11)?
Human beings cannot but love. Our God is love and he has made us in his image and with the capacity to love (Gen. 1:26-27; 1 John 4:8). The question is not whether we will love, but what we will love. We are told not to love things that will ruin our souls and wreck our lives (1 John 2:15-17). We are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (Matt. 22:37-40). We are told to love one another (John 13:34-35). We are commanded to love our enemies (Matt. 5:43-48).
This year we will see people love. Hopefully, our love will be directed toward the right things. Some will unfortunately direct their love toward arguing, pettiness, lust, and hatred (cf. Gal. 5:19-21). May our loves be ordered by God. In 2022, may we love the right things, and may we love them more. May we love God and love our neighbors in the way God has shown us so that others may know we have been with Jesus.
You might read this list and think, this is not what I was expecting. You may even think, these things were present in 2021. That’s the point. Each year has its own peculiarities, but most things remain the same (Eccl. 1:9). This year will have some unique events, but in the end, we can expect certain things to happen as they always do. The good news for us is that God does not change, and we can trust in his immutability (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8). We can face this year with confidence because we can face this year with Christ, and that is great news!