Devotional – Hope for a New Year

2020 was a memorable year for our family. After twelve and a half years of life and adventures in Alaska, we packed up and moved to Reno, Nevada. Looking back, I can see how the Lord faithfully guided and provided for us during a year of transition.

The year will be memorable for all of us as the year when COVID-19 changed so much in our daily lives (and for some, brought much grief and sorrow). Commercials and emails never tired to tell us that we live in “uncertain times.” True enough, but when have times ever been “certain”? Uncertainty, change, instability, and fear of the unknown have been a part of life in this world ever since the fall disrupted God’s perfect creational order. We can count on much in this life (death and taxes come to mind), but certainty is not one of them.

One of the greatest blessings we have as Christians is knowing that God does not change. Just as he did in 2020, God will exercise his sovereign rule over all things in 2021. And God will still be perfect in wisdom, knowledge, and goodness. And he will always be faithful to fulfill every promise he makes to us in his Son Jesus Christ. He will rule over all the circumstances of our lives to further his loving and holy purposes for us, to sanctify and prepare us for glory. He will still be merciful, kind, and patient. He will still forgive our sins when we come to him in repentance and faith. And he will continue to impart to us his life, joy, and peace from the infinite abundance of his riches towards us in Christ.

And God will continue to advance us on the path to glory. Each passing year is a reminder of the brevity of our lives, that we have one less year to live than we did one year ago. But the New Year also means we are one year closer to our eternal home. “Salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).

No matter what the New Year holds – gladness or sorrow, prosperity or affliction, or most likely, some mixture of all of these – as Christians we can look to the coming year with confidence and hope. We know the One in whose hand are all our times. Nothing awaits us that our merciful Father has not already ordained for our good, and for our eternal joy.

The times will always be uncertain. But our hope is not in improved circumstances, but in the unchanging Rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ, who is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Soli Deo Gloria!

Pastor Johnson