I have always enjoyed New Years Day, not only for the bowl games and fireworks and black-eyed peas, but for the new beginning it represents. It’s a chance to press “reset.” You can close out last year’s books, leave yesterday behind, and look ahead with a fresh determination to the changes you know you need to make.
There’s something about fresh starts and “do-overs” that all of us like. Sometimes you just want to shake up the Etch-A-Sketch and start over. That’s what New Year’s promises, even if it is just another day.
The good news is, though, that every day is like a mini-New Year’s Day. Even if you blew it yesterday, even if your life has seemed like nothing more than a long series of failures, there is the promise of a new day.
For those who have struggled through 2017, as well as those just trying to make it past yesterday, I have some wonderful words of promise for the day and year ahead. Hear the words of the weeping prophet, Jeremiah, as he did inventory of his own life and looked forward to a new day:
“I remember well my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:19-26)
I doubt Lamentations is a favorite reading for most of us, but I am sure that particular passage is still familiar. I would call your attention to one simple word in the middle of it that stands out to me. It comes in verse 21, after he has recounted his affliction and sorrow. “Yet…” In this case, it serves as a conjunction, and accentuates a contrast. It is one of those “neverthelesses” of Scripture. Even still, even though, even in the face of the difficulties I may be facing, “yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.”
What is it that the prophet is calling to mind? The Lord’s love and compassion, his mercies that never fail, that are new every morning. Life is tough, YET God is good and faithful, and therefore I have hope.
“They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Certainly that brings to mind the words of the great hymn of that same title, written by Thomas Chisholm:
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not.
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!”, “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
“Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.”
Now, that’s a promise for a new day, and a new year. May the Lord bless you with a wonderful and blessed new beginning in 2018. I am praying for you.