It’s one week into the New Year and I’m guessing many of us have already broken at least one of our resolutions. Typically the new year signals the start of new beginnings, change of habits, a renewed focus on things we prioritize as important in self-improvement. New Years and birthdays are good opportunities to reflect on the past, take inventory of our lives and make adjustments as we move into the future. For many these are exciting times, but for others, they are unwelcomed detours.
A wise philosopher is quoted as saying that new beginnings often come disguised as troubled endings. You may be embarking on a new job but only because you were unceremoniously dismissed or laid off from the one you loved. Perhaps you are starting the year off debt free but only because your prior financial situation resulted in bankruptcy. Maybe you are in a new relationship but only because of a recent heart wrenching separation or divorce. Indeed some new beginnings are only a result of painful endings.
New is described as recently originated or produced, not seen before. We love the idea of driving a new car or moving into a new model home. But new is also defined as unaccustomed or unfamiliar. New can be intimidating or scary. New can be unwelcomed and dreaded requiring changes which were not of our choosing. The world turns, our environment and circumstances shift, we adapt and prepare to move forward but it is not without trepidation. Fear of the unknown and not being able to see the path before you is only welcomed for haunted house adventurers, not everyday people.
In the original new beginning God made everything new and perfect-man was a new creature, the earth he inhabited was new, the sun, moon and stars all new and good. Then man did what he does best, he inserted his own will into the equation and messed everything up and became separated from God. So God came up with a New Covenant through His son Jesus, the best New we could possibly welcome. The Word as always has much to say about newness and starting over from the past and should serve as words of hope and encouragement when read.
Jeremiah 29:11; I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and a future and a hope.
2 Corinthians 5:17; Anyone in Christ is a new creation. Old things are no more and the new things have come.
Isaiah 43:19; Look, I am doing something new and it springing forth even now, do you not see it?
Lamentations 4:22; The steadfast love of the Lord never ends! His mercies are new every morning.
Ephesians 4:22; Put away your old self, your old former self with its corruption and evil desires, and be renewed and put on the new self created in the likeness of God.
Job 8:7; Your beginning my have been small but your new latter days will be great.
Isaiah 40:331; Those who wait for the Lord will be given new strength.
Ezekiel 36:26; I will give you a new heart and I’ll put a new spirit within you.
Revelation 21:5; He who was seated on the throne said “Look, I am making all things new”.
I like many of you know the joy of being given a new opportunity because of something I worked hard to achieve. And I also know the pain of a new beginning due to a less than perfect ending. I write from a first person point of view because in most cases I am the first person, reporting from inside the storm. Some of the most encouraging words we have to live by today were written by an Apostle while he was in chains and sharing his sleeping quarters with rats. It is only through the Word that we can embrace new beginnings with a renewed sense of hope that a sovereign God will see us through our new surroundings as we eagerly await the ending of this life on earth in exchange for a new home in a new kingdom where everyday is a new and refreshing beginning that will never have a painful ending. Happy New Year.