“Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:1-5)
It is quite fitting that we celebrate New Year’s Day. In its nature these celebrations rejoice in the faithfulness of God who has preserved us another year, so we can exclaim “Thus far the Lord has brought us!” (I Samuel 7:12). But more so it is a celebration of a fresh start, a clean slate, an unwritten book yet to be penned. There is the anticipation of the unknown, the mystery of the unpredictable – what does this year hold for us? How will things be at the end of this year? How will it change me?
A Fresh Start
It is necessary that we start this year with the reminder that our God is the God of a fresh start. He is the God of the second chance who never grows tired of his children but is always “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4). Jeremiah wrote “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23). New mercies every day. He is the One who lures the distant sinner closer by saying “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18). Indeed, our God is the God who wishes to put the past behind with the promise of a clean slate for a fresh start! His invitation is clear: “forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead… press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14).
A New Beginning
Our God is the God of New Beginnings. He is all-wise, all-mighty, and all-sufficient. Therefore over every situation we can confidently declare “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37; cf Jeremiah 32:27). He is the One who promised “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19). Our God springs life-giving water in a lifeless wilderness and creates a mighty army from dried bones (Ezekiel 37:1ff). Nothing is ever too far gone or too hard for him. He has the power and the wisdom to redeem the hopeless or to make something out of nothing. Even death does not mark the end since He himself rose from the dead and poured his resurrection spirit into our hearts (Romans 8:11). He is the reason we hope and don’t despair, the reason we confidently wait and smile in the face of impossible odds. Where there seems to be a dead end our God opens “a door of hope” (Hosea 2:15). Our God reconciles the divided, rejuvenates the fatigued, restores the broken, and revives the dead. He is the God of new beginnings! With him life goes on, forever.
Our God is the God of New Things. He is called Creator, the Beginning, and the Bright Morning Star announcing the coming new day. He is the God of new inventions, new solutions, new answers, a new way of life. As with the birth of a baby, new beginnings always starts with cries of pain and tears of desperation. These cries are not from a place of despair but in hopeful anticipation – joyful change is on the way. As the birth a baby represents the promise of new life, a clean slate and new potential, so every oppressive or painful situation holds the promise of this newness of life. And when God is at work in these painful circumstances he promises that it is certainly not in vain (Isaiah 66:8-9). This pattern we see repeated in the Scriptures.
The slaves cried out in Egypt – God’s answer for deliverance and a new way of life was in the birth of baby Moses; he embodied their answered prayer. Years later, in their promised land, time and again the oppressed Israelites cried out to God for deliverance, his answer was the judges Gideon, Sampson, Jephthah, Deborah. In a similar way the Bible talks of Samuel, David, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and, yes, Jesus our Redeemer. God’s plan for new things, new life, enters our world during painful times through a person whom he empowers. In a similar way, you are God’s answer for new things this year.
Your New Year
This is a New Year. The old is gone – it cannot be redone and it cannot be undone. But it is a good time to turn the page and start with a clean slate. Our God is the God of the Fresh Start. He is the God of the Fresh Start in whom we can find peace for a plagued conscience and forgiveness for a life wasted. Don’t despair – life is not over until he calls us home. Come reason with him; unburden yourself and find new mercies for this New Year. His steadfast love never ceases! What do you want to close the book on this year?
He is the God of the New Beginning, who creates a garden in the wasteland, an army out of dead bones and makes a way where there seems to be no way. Nothing is ever too hopeless for him to redeem. As long as your heart pumps he has good plans for you – plans of a glorious future. He heals bleeding hearts, mends shattered dreams and restores broken relationships. He truly makes all things new! What can he do for you and in you this year?
He is the God of New Things, the all-wise, all-mighty creator of all things who knows the end from the beginning. The Bible records how in the past he gave inspiration and plans for deliverance and warfare, for health, healing and sanitation, for designs and building of the ark, the tabernacle and temple, for arts, poetry and music, economic planning, supernatural providential sustenance and wise governance. What can he do though you this year?
Happy New Year! Make this one count for eternity.