And so we begin again. A new year. New hope. New anticipation. Many of us will look back on last year, grateful just to have survived the year. It was difficult for many of us. We dealt with personal losses, deaths, illnesses, job losses, and other problems that have cut deeply into our hearts. As we turn the corner on a new year, though, we approach it with a sense of hope. That was then. This is now. The year ahead is a blank slate with none of the problems of the last year. We can write this year of our lives without the hangover of the last year. Perhaps that’s why so many celebrate the coming of the new year.
I wonder about the hopes and dreams of God as He created this world. He carefully molded this world and populated it with animals, plants, and His crowning achievement: man. I’m sure that God planned for this world to be perfect. That man would interact with his environment as he tended the garden and then the whole world; that he would be a caretaker of the animals He placed in this world; that he would walk in perfect fellowship with God. The work was done and now it was time for God to sit back and enjoy His world. “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.” (Genesis 2:1)
As man walked about in this new world, God’s plans were soon waylaid. When man had the opportunity to walk in fellowship with God, he chose to disobey God and do things his own way. We call that sin. When sin entered the world, it disrupted the fellowship that man had with God. Sin disrupted not only our harmony with God but our interaction with nature. Instead of working with the forces of nature, we set out to conquer and subdue nature. In our effort to prove to God that we could do things our own way, nature became a tool instead of a partner in advancing the cause of humanity. If God hadn’t foreseen our rebellion and made plans, we would be in big trouble.
God, from the beginning of creation, had planned for Jesus to come to earth as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. His plan was to restore fellowship between man and God and help us to live in harmony with Him. While many still don’t accept God’s presence and leadership in their lives, the truth is that God, from the beginning of time, was planning to restore the fellowship that He had originally planned. Jesus Christ: born as a baby, taught as a man, and went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. This was the plan since the beginning of salvation. God wanted perfect fellowship with His creation. And so it still is today. While this year starts off with great hope, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t realize that this year will have its troubles. This year will bring its disappointments. But if we go through this year in fellowship with God because of our relationship with Jesus Christ, we will be able to deal with any difficulties that come our way. Each day with Jesus is like the beginning of a new year: full of hope and anticipation for the greatness that comes from a relationship with God.
Lord God, as we start a new year, help us to see the hope You have planned. Let each of us recognize our failure in our relationship with You and see hope restored in Jesus Christ.
Daily Devotion by Bob James