A New Year has dawned. The holiday is over, and life is returning to its normal daily routine. The days are dark and wet, and the credit card bills will soon arrive. The new year is a time to look forward, but the future looks very uncertain. The war in Ukraine continues. Climate change is causing anxiety to many. The economic crisis is seriously affecting the lives of ordinary people. The moral foundations which once undergirded our society are being eroded by so-called “progressive” thinking. World leaders are facing problems that are too big for them to handle, but they are reluctant to admit it.
The apostle Paul wrote a letter to Christians in Rome. The moral corruption, that would eventually lead to the fall of the Roman Empire, was already taking hold and Christians were experiencing persecution. Paul himself would soon be imprisoned for his faith in Jesus and would be martyred, along with many other Christians, at the command of the Roman Emperor Nero. The personal future of Paul and the Christians was very uncertain.
Near the end of the letter Paul wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.” These words speak to us today. Hope for the future comes not from ourselves, or from those who have power and influence, but from God. He is the God of hope! As we entrust ourselves and our future to him, he fills us with joy and peace. Ultimately the world and our lives are not simply at the mercy of evil people but are in the hands of a gracious God who gives us a hope that is real.
A new year is a time of new beginnings. The opening words of the Bible are “In the beginning God.” They remind us of the importance of putting God first in every part of your life? Everyone who does this experiences a new joy and peace and discovers meaning, purpose and hope in their lives.
Life doesn’t make sense without God. In our increasingly secular Western society, God has been airbrushed out of our lives. Yet he speaks eloquently to us in the magnificent heavens and earth he created and also in his Son who came into this world that we might have a rich and satisfying life. The New Year is a great time to begin each day by speaking to God in prayer committing the day to him; each day reading a few verses from God’s Word in the Bible, and then, before we sleep, thanking God for the blessings of the day. This will keep our eyes firmly fixed on him.