As we get older, years seem to whizz by faster and faster and we often repeat “I can’t believe another year is gone.” We seem to regularly make some sort of pledge around this time of year that we are going to change something about ourselves. I often wondered if there is an actual day when we can stop pretending we are going to follow through with such pledges and discovered that the seventeenth of this month is the official “Ditch New Year Resolution Day” which means whatever pledge I made only requires I hang on for seventeen days. God is not like that. His pledges are eternal; His love is eternal as is His comfort. This means that just as we were able to bring our grief to the foot of the cross in 2015, we can be sure that avenue is just as open in 2016.
The opening verse of Psalm 136 reads: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.” The second half of the verse is repeated in every one of the twenty six verses of that Psalm. In verse sixteen we read: “to Him who led His people through the wilderness, for His steadfast love endures forever.” Just as He led Israel through the wilderness, He led us through the wilderness of life in 2015 when we felt confused and were not sure which way to go; He led us (and walked with us) through the dark valleys of the year scooping our tears in the palm of His hand; and He led us to (and rejoiced with us) the mountain peaks of our lives in 2015. He will continue to do so in 2016.
How about this? Rather than traditional New Year resolutions that some of us may have already forgotten or broken, we make a decision as a church family to hold on to God’s enduring love through whatever this New Year may bring. He is the one constant that will not disappoint or abandon us. In addition, let us endeavor to hang on to each other as well. I will do my best to be there for you through the year, lifting you up before the Lord and asking Him to guide me to be an effective pastor and teacher. Will you do the same for me? Will you do the same for each other? Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 reads: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Let us face 2016 together!