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So we now stand on the brink of 2021. What its ahead? Only GOD knows…truly. He is the only one who knows what is ahead of us this coming year. As much as we may wish for this coming year to be better than this past one, that will not make it so.

2020 brought a world pandemic, death,  political upheaval and even job loss to many. The ways our children do their education and we do our jobs have been turned upside-down. It has been a very stress-filled year!

We have just come through one of the most difficult years of our lives collectively. COVID affected not only our nation, but the world. No one was immune from this disease. It affected rich and poor alike. We have all been isolated from family, friends and places we have wanted to visit, to recreate, because of this horrible disease that scientists are still learning about. Fortunately, immunizations are now available, but even they will take time to be available to all of us.

On top of COVID, our nation has had much political upheaval as well, during this stressful time. So political events and elections have been taking place with all their focused and slanted talk from each side followed by accusations after the election. Also, during the year, there was upheaval in many social arenas, particularly in regard to the racial issues and those of social injustice.We have been reminded again that these issues are far from resolved and awakened to more facts in our history that showed that our nation has been very prejudiced in many areas of life for years and years. In some ways, the breaking of our hearts over issues stemming from COVID has possibly softened the hearts of some of us to actually look at some of these issues for the first time in our lives…or at least to look at them more deeply.

Thinking positively about a new year and hoping for the best will not cause the year to be a better year. We have no idea what this year will bring.

In order for us to face this new year, we can’t simply think positively and hope for the best regarding 2021. It will take more than that in order for us to face the challenges of another year…one that may be even more challenging.

Social and political issues don’t go away when the calendar changes. They continue on. We can’t simply continue to ignore them if that has been our pattern. But of course, we can’t start there.

We start with the Gospel. It is the good news that Christ came to redeem His people from the curse of sin and death in order that they could become new creations and be able to bring honor to Him and someday spend eternity with Him in heaven.

The reason for our hope as we face a New Year is because we face it with Jesus. We are not alone. He is with us. That is our hope! Click To Tweet

As those who belong to the Supreme GOD of the Universe, those of us who are in Christ, we can be confident that whatever GOD allows into our lives is for our ultimate good and for His glory. Do you remember His words given through the prophet Jeremiah to the people of GOD as they were heading into the 70 year Babylonian Captivity? The years ahead were going to be difficult for sure! It was not going to be easy at all. Some of them were going to be taken away from their homeland to a strange nation. This nation did not love or care about GOD. But GOD was using this evil nation to punish His people for turning away from GOD as a nation. This is what GOD promised them.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV

These are words of comfort we can hold onto this year as well. We don’t know what is ahead. For most of us, this is likely to be a year of mixed joys and sorrows. But the truth is that we have no idea what is ahead of us. It is comforting to know that whatever comes, it is for our welfare and not for our harm.

This is another encouraging reminder as well.

 “It is the Lord who goes before you.
He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.
Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV

These are two encouraging truths for us as we walk into a new, fresh year…full of unknowns. We have no idea what is ahead. GOD’s motive for us isn’t necessarily punitive as it was for His people, but He has a variety of reasons for allowing hard things into our lives. As those who belong to GOD, we can be encouraged that nothing that happens to us this coming year, or ever,  will come, apart from GOD’s plan for good for us. His purposes for us include our welfare and our best, He does not have evil intent.

The other encouragement is that He is going to be both ahead of us and with us as we walk through this year. There is nothing that will happen that will cause Him to turn His back on us. So let us be encouraged as we face another year that He will be caring well for us no matter what our circumstances.

These promises are for those who are are in Christ. But anyone is welcome to be part of that group.

I write this to people who are “in Christ” and are part of His family realizing that the invitation is there for anyone to become part of this family. It is not an exclusive group like a  club or clique. We simply must acknowledge the fact that we cannot  earn our goodness. We will never, ever be able to be good enough for a holy GOD. That is why Jesus had to come and die for us…to pay for our sin and make us right with Him.

The reason for our hope as we face a New Year is because we face it with Jesus. We are not alone. He is with us. That is our hope!