With the remains of roman candles and black cat firecrackers littering the ground throughout Albania’s capital city, we enter 2010. Tirana will sleep for 2 solid days as stores, cinemas, and even the most populated coffee shops are closed for hibernation. Baklava is fresh and bountiful in homes, having been made the 2 or 3 days prior to the New Year, to welcome all those who venture outside their homes to make the rounds of New Year’s visits at friend’s and neighbor’s homes as is custom here.
2009 has passed, 2010 is upon us. On blogs and in the news we see endless lists that cause us to pause for reflection on the past. “The best & worst movies of 2009.” “The 30 best posts of 2009.” “Best dressed of 2009.”
Though it is a great time for looking back, remembering the achievements and special joys of this past year, pondering the challenges we’ve experienced and the ways we’ve grown through them, many of us would prefer to look forward with anticipation of a new beginning, a chance to get things right, gain a fresh start, set new goals and make necessary changes so that 2010 is a better year, or even “the best year yet” as many New Year’s well-wishers express.
As I transition to a New Year and New Decade, 3 timeless truths that I can cling to enable me to move forward with hope and anticipation, not worry or dread.
1. His mercies are new every morning, every day of the year—not just once a year.
Perhaps for many 2009 held financial difficulties, job loss or great personal sorrow that resembles Jeremiah’s bitterness in the Book of Lamentations… “I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—the feeling of hitting bottom.” (Lam. 3:19).
Despite how difficult and painful the past has been, there is reason to hope. Just 3 verses later we read, “God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great is your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God… He’s all I’ve got left.” (Lam. 3:22-24, The Message).
What gives me great hope is that His mercies are not new just once a year, upon the arrival of the New Year, but every day, they reach down to us in whatever despairing situation we find ourselves in. God’s loyal love is a reality, for each of the 365 days in 2010.
In pondering the happenings of 2009, while I could easily dwell on the difficult circumstances we’ve faced– my father-in-law being diagnosed with cancer and business clients who haven’t paid their bills among others, I’d much rather bring to mind the countless ways we’ve seen and tasted God’s goodness and faithfulness in our lives, even through challenging trials. So as we head into this New Year—what a great truth to cling to—God is constant, unchanging, steady, solid… just as He has shown His faithfulness to us throughout the past year, He will continue to do so in this new one.
Not knowing what the future holds can be scary and even intimidating at times. But God is all about embracing today, just as His name is “I Am.” I don’t need to walk with trepidation into 2010 with worries, anxieties and “what if’s” flooding my mind— doing so would only paralyze me and keep me from moving forward.
Instead I can cling to this wonderful truth– God is sovereign and He holds the future. His will is good, pleasing and perfect for my life, so I can take one day at a time, living in His strong embrace, knowing that His grace is sufficient for all that I’ll face today and every day.
As you enter 2010, what truths give you hope, courage and joy in facing a New Year?