God! you walked off and left us, kicked our defenses to bits
And stalked off angry. Come back. Oh please, come back!
Psalm 60:1, MSG
As the year wraps up, have you taken a moment in the busyness of the season to pause and reflect? Have you looked back over, reviewed, contemplated, mulled over, mused on, thought about the last twelves months?
Are you relishing in the memories? Wishing you could relive some moments again. Or do you not want to, because you really don’t want to relive it? Once was enough.
Do you have successes? Goals accomplished? Satisfaction? Joys?
Do you have unmet expectations? Unfinished goals? Disappointments? Frustrations?
For some, it’s a year of firsts, of celebrations, of triumphs. First kisses. Wedding vows. First homes. The birth of a child. Graduations. The first day of kindergarten, or the first semester of college. The first day of a new job, or the first day of retirement.
For others, it’s a year of ups and downs. This year, I’ve attended two graduations, three weddings and two funerals (both way too young). I’ve talked about the c-word with friends, wondering what the future holds for them. I’ve stood at the side of my mother’s hospital bed, not knowing whether she would pull through (so thankful she did). I’ve sent my youngest off to college and celebrated my granddaughter’s second birthday. I’ve stared at my still unfinished novel. And I’ve seen the start of construction for our new home.
For many, it has been a difficult year. Broken relationships. Demanding bosses. Financial struggles. Miscarriages. Divorce. Unexpected moves. Natural disasters. Illnesses. Accidents. Deaths.
How has the year treated you? How have you come through?
Battered? Worn? Beaten down? Defeated?
Maybe you feel like the Psalmist, that God has walked off and left you, that He’s angry and has left you all alone.
You’ve pleaded with Him to come back. But it feels as if heaven is silent. Maybe you’ve given up. Why bother any more?
Take heart my friend. God has not abandoned you.
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”” Deuteronomy 31:8
The new day dawns. The new year begins. Our God is in the business of new things.
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” Isaiah 43:19
“Now I will tell you new things, secrets you have not yet heard.” Isaiah 48:6
What new thing are you waiting for? Are you looking for the new thing God desires to do for you, in you?
Is it a new life?
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5
Is it a new heart and spirit?
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26
“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
Is it new strength?
“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Is it new hope?
“When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:19
Is it a new attitude?
“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” Ephesians 4:23
In the new year, celebrate what should be celebrated, mourn what needs to be mourned, but do not think the Lord has walked off and left you. He loves you, He wants what’s best for you, and He will be with you in the midst of every high and every low.
Heavenly Father, You are a God of firsts. A God who makes all things new. As I look ahead into the new year, may your grace give me new life, a new heart, a new spirit, new strength, new hope, and a new attitude in all things.