Happy New Year!
I’ve been a (mostly) faithful exerciser for many years. I typically go to the gym over my lunch hour for some cardio or weight training before taking a quick shower and returning to work. There is a small group of guys who are on a similar schedule and we see each other there day after day, year after year. Every January we notice the newcomers who hit the gym, full of good intentions. By the middle of February, the ones who are left are likely to stick with it and the rest have disappeared. There is something about New Year’s Day that spurs optimism and hope.
I recently read comments made by Michelle Obama in light of the recent presidential election. During an interview with Oprah Winfrey the First Lady, obviously no fan of Donald Trump, said this, “We feel the difference now. See, now, we are feeling what not having hope feels like.” My response to this is that the First Lady has put her in hope in the wrong place. I’m not trying to be critical of Mrs. Obama, you would have to have your head buried in the sand to not see people demonstrating the effects of hopelessness all around us. Putting hope in a president, a government, or a philosophy is a recipe for disaster. I pray these people find the One in whom they can place their hope. Our job is to demonstrate God’s kingdom and to show Him worthy of faith, hope and trust.
The book of Lamentations was written during a very tough time for citizens of Judah. Jeremiah (assuming he was the author) speaks to those who are in a tough time in Lamentations 3:20-26.
My soul still remembers
And sinks within me.
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.
In the Lord, we don’t have to wait for January 1st for a fresh start or a new beginning, His mercies are new every morning. He is faithful and He alone can bear the weight of our hope. The Lord is the true source of hope and no politician can deliver it in His place. The Apostle Peter brings this truth into the New Testament in 1 Peter 1:3.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
In 1834 Edward Mote wrote the following as the first verse in his classic hymn My Hope is Built on Nothing Less. By demonstrating Christ, you can help people who have lost hope by showing them the way to move to the solid Rock from the sinking sand.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
Maybe you have been telling yourself, “Don’t get your hopes up.” Maybe someone has been saying it to you. Either way, the encouragement of Jeremiah and Peter (and me) this New Years Day is this. Go ahead, let hope arise, just make sure you are placing it in the Solid Rock.