January 1st, thinking about all the optimist about the New Year. As I began to think of all that has happened in 2020 and finally the year ended last night, what really changed? I will be accused of being a pessimist from the content of this blog I am sure. But really, what changed?
We turned the page on a calendar, yes we will have to remember to write 2021 on all our correspondence. There is the HOPE that by beginning a new year that things will be different. I think we can HOPE that 2021 will bring some closure to the hardships and difficulties of a pandemic, an election and a record storm season. BUT, there is that word that seems to stop a train of thought and causes our mind to go “Oh No, now what?”
Well, in Jeremiah 8:20 it says, with Jeremiah speaking – Harvest is past, summer has ended, and we are not saved.” Remember Jeremiah was trying to get Judah to realistically look at their spiritual condition and the pending judgement and captivity by Babylonian armies. The the HOPE of the people relied on their King and religious priests to deliver them from the inescapable judgement. Jeremiah was seen as a rebel and a naysayer. Conditions in Judah had deteriorated so bad that God told Jeremiah twice do not pray for these people I will not hear you cry and prayers. [Jeremiah 7:16 and 11:14] I find this remembrance of mine very interesting since it was just last January that I taught a bible study to my churches on Jeremiah.
Where have we come? How far have we as a nation, person, church and denomination fallen? While we may put our hopes in a new president, a vaccine and even a stimulus check – these are false hopes. Simply changing the calendar or turning a page does not bring change. It may bring optimism, but not change.
What we left in 2020 is for the most part still here when we woke up on January 1st. We still have a global crisis, a vaccine that seemingly cannot get properly dispersed, political upheaval, arguments and name calling between political parties, tension in our cities about social injustice, rioting in major cities over Black Lives Matter and de-funding police, Critical Race Theory and intersectionality are all still here with us. All the problems that we thought were left in 2020, are still needing to be dealt with in 2021.
So, how are we to enter into 2021, are we to drag all the problems, failures and sin from 2020 into 2021? Well, if all we did was turn the page on a calendar, then we should expect that everything that existed before we went to sleep is still with us when we wake up!
As I reflect on what could happen in 2021, I am HOPEFUL, hopeful in the strong arm of God, His faithfulness even when I am not faithful. I must be resolved that “in the world you will have tribulations, BUT TAKE HEART I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD” – John 16:33. There is an old hymn that use to be sang in churches, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly trust in Jesus Name, On Christ the Solid Rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand!”
Some trust in chariots, but I trust in the Lord our God! Turning the page on a calendar does not magically make all the bad or undesirable circumstances disappear. If we have not resolved the battle in our soul, then the war still rages. Jeremiah’s words – summer has ended, the harvest is done and we still are not saved rings clear about how that seasons and events of a year do not end the greater issues of life. Judah had departed from GOD, they trusted in alliances with foreign kings, yet neglected the King of Kings. If we are hoping and trusting in a new administration to solve our problems, then we are really naive.
There is one way to make a “Turning of the Page” action make a difference – Turn to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. I know many people will make promises and resolutions, but turning over a new leaf is not what is needed. How I entered the New Year is more important than the New Year/New Day. Last year when the pandemic hit, I made the statement -“This pandemic is a wake-up call to the church and a warning to the world.”
I saw the sun come up this morning, it was really beautiful. My thoughts went immediately to some things never change. The greatest non-changing occurs in Jesus Christ – He still loves me. Jesus still wants to save the LOST. The change needed for 2021 is not a Turning the page of a calendar, but the Turning to the Cross!
Romans 5:1-5 says Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we celebrate in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Hope is a good thing – Hope does not disappoint – Pray that your HOPE is in the powerful name of Jesus! Nothing else will make the needed changes – 2 Corinthians 5:17