Today is the first day in a brand new year. Much will get said about where we go from here, how to move forward, and how to make this year better than the last. Resolutions will be made and people will try harder. They’ll try harder for a better life, a better persona, a better image, better body, better health. So much trying will be going on, or at least so many good intentions. But as we consider how to press on and move forward, I’d like to look back for a moment. Look back a couple years to something I wrote before this blog began. I don’t think this can be said too often. It’s one for this day, the next day, and the day after that. Year after year after year.
GOOD NEWS FOR THE NEW YEAR!
As we begin the new year, there is good news for the broken, hurting, wasted, sick and desolate. And who among us hasn’t been counted in that number? The less-celebrated but more important meaning of the Christmas season, good news in every season, is the birth of one who knows and heals all wounds. A baby born in under-privileged circumstances, living an unremarkable life from his neighbors’ perspective. A baby, once grown, suffering extreme rejection and physical pain, broken. What good is someone like that to me in my pain? This rejected and suffering man was God in the flesh. Not “…unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) “He learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:9) Now we, in our brokenness, can approach God with confidence, “that we may receive mercy and grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).
Jesus was born, suffered, died to bear our burdens, and lives again in defeat of death, so that we can draw near to God! Psalm 22 says that God has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard when he cried to him. This world will never be free from evil and pain. But there is another world to come, one in which those who see their need for God and trust Him for life will live in perfect unbrokenness. A world and time where tears will not be needed and the only cries of the heart will be praise to the God who has made all things new. Don’t wait for tomorrow, life to become un-messy, or a new year’s resolution to cry to God. Trust Him to forgive your sin and heal your brokenness. He gives new life.
And new life is the only way to start off a new year on the right foot, kneeling before God and moving forward in faith. There’s nothing wrong with setting goals and living intentionally. But all those things are meaningless without the God who directs our steps. You may not get a better body, a better image, or better health, but you will get a brand new heart!
Happy New Year!