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        The calendar page turns over a new year. We like to tell ourselves that, though January 1st is just one day after December 31st, everything is new and fresh. The slate on the last year has been wiped away, and all is possibility. But we’re a little wary this time around. We can remember when the page turned to 2021, and we were eagerly anticipating the wide distribution of the vaccine and the effective end of the pandemic.  It didn’t quite happen, did it? And as 2022 ramps up, we’re becoming familiar with another Greek letter, omicron.  It just looks like an O, as in, “O boy, here we go again.” Will 2022 truly bring fresh, new possibilities?

        To use a much older example of disappointed hopes for a new year, we might consider the tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions. Did you know that tradition goes back 4,000 years? The ancient Babylonians made resolutions to their gods each year. If they followed through, their gods would bless them. If they dropped the ball, they could be sure evil times would visit them.  That’s a strong incentive for seeing your resolutions through!  Perhaps we need better incentive these days: surveys indicate 88% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions fail to keep them.

        It’s no good to start each year with great expectations, only to have them defeated. Is there no way to break this disappointing cycle? Before I continue, I want to be clear on a couple points. It’s important to use all our knowledge to be as healthy as we can—that’s a gift from God. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with examining ourselves for needed improvements, making goals and striving for them.

        Still, maybe we would face less disappointment if we look a hard look at what we’re basing our hopes on. If we’re looking solely to human knowledge to vanquish a virus—if we base our hopes for improvement on human willpower, there’s a common element that’s prone to let us down: that word “human.” Christians know that humans are finite. Our knowledge and capabilities only go so far. And we’re constantly tripped up by our sinfulness. If we rely on our own resources to make things better, we will meet with failure soon enough.

        There is another depository for hope, however. If we look to our Lord, we will never see our hopes defeated. Why? Because Scripture is crammed with glorious testimony of the faithfulness of our God. I did a complete search for references to God’s faithfulness; there are FAR more than I can share with you here. Look it up for yourself and you will be impressed. Here is just a quick sample:

  • Our God is faithful in His compassions toward us: He renews them every morning (Lam. 3:22-23).

  • He abounds in faithfulness, slow to anger and always preferring to show love and grace (Ex. 34:6).

  • He is faithful to reward those who earnestly seek Him (Heb. 11:6).

  • He is faithful to keep His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments (Deut. 7:9).

  • His faithfulness will be our shield to protect us from evil (Ps. 91:4-6).

  • Even if we are going through suffering, He remains faithful and will see us through it (2 Tim. 2:13).

  • Hold tight to the confession of our hope, for He who promised is faithful (Heb. 10:23).

  • He watches over us, faithfully ensuring we won’t be tempted beyond what we are able. He’ll also provide us a way out (1 Cor. 10:13).

  • If we do sin, we only need confess. He is faithful to forgive and purify us from sin itself (1 John 1:9).

  • He is faithful to establish us strong in our faith, make us holy and blameless, and keep us secure in our fellowship with Christ (1 Cor. 1:8-9).

  • And even if we are faithless, He will remain faithful (2 Tim. 2:13).

        As we look ahead to 2022, I’m sure it will be like most years: there will be joyful times, and very hard times. You will see some of your goals come to fruition, and some of them will crash and burn. We’ll probably see some advances and some setbacks in our war with this pandemic. But if you’re looking to experience this year much more positively than the last, I counsel you not to rest your hopes of human capabilities. Plant your confidence deeply in God. People will let you down, and you will let yourself down. But God is ever-faithful, and no one who hopes in Him will be put to shame (Psalm 25:3). That will be your way to experience a blessed 2022.

Your Brother and Servant,

Pastor Scott.