I think most of us probably engage in some sort of reflection as we end one year and start another. There’s the inevitable “I can’t believe another year has passed” thought, as well as the sometimes fretful or perhaps hopeful anticipation of flipping the calendar to another year.
This year I’ll lose the weight and keep it off. This year I’ll start an exercise program that I’ll stick to. This year I’ll get my finances in order. This year I’ll be less anxious and more joyful. This year . . .
Those commitments rarely work. As time goes on, the more I’m convinced that what we need on the deepest level is a strong belief in the faithfulness of God. Life is wonderful and exciting, and also scary and painful. We see evidence of both in our church family, of course. So many young families welcomed beautiful little babies into their homes in 2023, while others lost people they loved. Both good times and bad are the common lot of humanity.
No one knows what the next year will hold . . . we are notoriously poor prophets when it comes to predicting economic, political, or social outcomes. And that uncertainty can generate a significant level of angst.
But as Christians we hold onto something more substantial than the ups and downs of the world around us, and even the good and bad of our own personal experiences.
Our text for Sunday addresses fear and discouragement, but it points us beyond them to God’s presence.
I am with you. I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.