When a new year begins, it’s always good to remember events we’ve had in the year that just passed and be thankful for them: the big things, the small things, the quiet things, the noisy things, the challenging things, etc. They are part of our recent history and a chapter of “HIStory” (God’s story) in our lives.
When I think of the story that God is writing in my life and in the life of the whole world, I cannot help but go back to Genesis 1—the first chapter of the universe; the creation of the world. There are a good many details like what creatures were made on a specific day, or when the sky filled with bright lights, or when trees were created. And in all these, I marvel at the clues pointing to God’s character. Genesis 1 isn’t just a record of events; it is a record of God’s heart as He lovingly went through a milestone in HIStory.
First of all, I marvel that God is an artist. When I close my eyes and imagine the sounds and the sights—like how the clouds must have rolled back, or how the sun must have shown its tremendous glory, or how the huge waves leapt, I sense a love of beauty in the heart of God. This is a God who knows color, who knows texture, who knows variety, and who loves expressing His heart. Plus, I love that He called His creation GOOD. Because of this, we can capture this simple truth in this new year: Whatever God makes is GOOD. What God intends is GOOD. What God has in His heart is good. When God sees variety, it is GOOD.
Second, I marvel that God is a scientist. The first verse alone is full of science. “In the beginning (time), God (force) created (work) the heavens (space) and the earth (matter)” (Genesis 1:1). God the scientist was already playing with elements of science, knowing how best to create something out of nothing. Then again, is it really “nothing,” when God IS everything? As the Creator spoke the words, “Let there be…” these words found their fulfillment and being.
Seeing God as artist and scientist opens up a world of exploration of God’s heart. By creating the world in order (first day, this; second day, that; third day, this…), we see that God doesn’t do things in slipshod fashion. He takes his time. Also, He has a sense of provision. He made sure that when it was time to form man, things like food and oxygen, water, and shelter were already around. If we have a God who knows what we need and who makes things good and beautiful, then isn’t it just right that we trust His heart for us in this new year?
And then we have God fashioning man. In the other things He created like birds, fish, and land animals, God simply spoke words, but this time, with man, He had a more “hands-on” approach (see Genesis 2:7). The Bible says that God fashioned man in His image, in His likeness. Imagine: when it came to man, God’s holy fingers moved. He wanted full involvement. He wasn’t just going to release words, although He could have done that. NO. God’s holy hands would move, imprinting His very fingerprints, and blowing into man life– His very DNA. God’s ultimate masterpiece would be mankind—a creature that would think, feel, have His heart, His sense of leadership, His sense of goodness, His sense of love. This would be someone whom He could have a relationship with; someone whom He could call son, and later, when Eve would be created, daughter. Yes, man would be created first, and then later, from out of man’s rib, a woman. A son and a daughter would be the pinnacle of His creation.
I can imagine God beaming and saying, “Very GOOD!”
This year, we can have a sense of awe as we behold God in the events that unfold in our lives. Like the Psalmist, we can reflect: “What is man that you are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4a) Let us not miss out on beholding our Creator. The story of our lives is still the story of His LOVE. He is creative, He is faithful, and He knows what He is doing. His fingerprints are all over our lives.
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.