For many, the last day of the year calls for retrospect and evaluation. I look back on the New Year’s resolutions that I have made in my life and then given up on and resolutions I finally vowed not to make in more recent years. The slate starts clean again tomorrow and a new year full of hope and promise is just a few hours away. Who doesn’t love a fresh start? I am relieved again of the old failures and feel the freedom to walk with my head up with new dreams, for a hope and future.
Nothing really is different about tomorrow than today, however. The only thing we may do is flip a new calendar page, but we probably already did that twelve times this last year. Today is as good as tomorrow to have that clean slate. Truly, the only authentic Slate Cleaner is our Lord Jesus. He gives us a new start and wipes away the past screw ups and offenses as far as the east is from the west.(Ps. 103:12) He literally saves us from ourselves daily if we ask Him. Just like a New Year, our Christ gives us the opportunity to start again free from the baggage of the old as a whole new person. I’ve said this before, probably to the aggravation of many doctrinal purists, but I find I am just as thankful that He saves me every single day (from myself, from my past, from my failures and feelings of inadequacy) as I am for the salvation Christ has given me for all eternity. I know I have disappointed Him so many times, and it causes me great pain. But to know I have a Father God that takes this prodigal soul back again and again just by my asking is the sweetest gift of daily redemption I need to press on toward the goal and to finish this race well. I love Mrs. Charles Cowman’s “Streams in the Desert” for tomorrow, and read it every year as a reminder of this precious grace that our Lord extends.
The land whither ye go to possess it is a land of hills and valleys and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: a land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.¨ (Deut. 11:11, 12.)
Today, dear friends we stand upon the verge of the unknown. There lies before us the new year and we are going forth to possess it. Who can tell what we shall find? What new experiences, what changes shall come, what new needs shall arise? But here is the cheering, comforting, gladdening message from our Heavenly Father, The Lord thy God careth for it.¨ His eyes are upon it away to the ending of the year.¨
All our supply is to come from the Lord. Here are springs that shall never dry; here are fountains and streams that shall never be cut off. Here, anxious one, is the gracious pledge of the Heavenly Father. If He be the Source of our mercies they can never fail us. No heat, no drought can parch that river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God.¨
The land is a land of hills and valleys. It is not all smooth nor all down hill. If life were all one dead level the dull sameness would oppress us; we want the hills and the valleys. The hills collect the rain for a hundred fruitful valleys. Ah, so it is with us! It is the hill difficulty that drives us to the throne of grace and brings down the shower of blessing; the hills, the bleak hills of life that we wonder at and perhaps grumble at, bring down the shower. How many have perished in the wilderness, buried under its golden sands, who would have lived and thriven in the hill-country; how many would have been killed by the frost, blighted with winds, swept desolate of tree and fruit but for the hill-stern, hard, rugged, so steep to climb. God’s hills are a gracious protection for His people against their foes!
We cannot tell what loss and sorrow and trial are doing. Trust only. The Father comes near to take our hand and lead us on our way today. It shall be a good, a blessed new year! He leads us on by paths we did not know; Upward He lead us, though our steps be slow, Though oft we faint and falter on the way; Though storms and darkness oft obscure the day; Yet when the clouds are gone, We know He leads us on. He leads us on through all the unquiet years; Past all our dreamland hopes, and doubts and fears, He guides our steps, through all the tangled maze Of losses, sorrows, and overclouded days; We know His will is done; And still He leads us on. –N. L. Zinzendorf.
Last night, I started Genesis again—the book of beginnings. I read that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” I realized that annie found grace in the eyes of the Lord, too. I don’t know why I’ve been chosen to know and receive this Grace, but by faith, I know “from whence my help cometh.” It comes from the Lord. And I overflow with a grateful heart. Happy New Year!
Grace and Peace to you,
In the name of our Lord and Savior
In 2008 and through all eternity,