New Year–New Beginning?

Posted on January 6, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

Anyone who knows me is aware that I thrive on organization and planning. I’m the compulsive calendar keeper and list maker. I love strategic planning, how to get from point A to point B, driven by goals and objectives. A new day, a new week, a new year has always been a stimulating opportunity for new accomplishments.

Somewhere along the way in seeking to implement an annual agenda it occurred to me that God doesn’t necessarily work within human timeframes. The difference between December 31 and January 1 is really no different than June 30 and July 1 in His stewardship of history. His plans and purposes flow from a larger context. Sometimes His will is for the day at hand, but He is usually working from a long-range plan of everything from personal character development to global evangelization. His goals make take several months, years or even a lifetime.

So what is the significance of beginning a new year? Does changing a page on the calendar really make a difference in our resolutions and goals? If I didn’t get into the discipline that resulted in weight loss last year or the year before, will 2012 be any different? A new year and new date will not in itself enable me to be more faithful in my devotional time or diligent in serving the Lord.

Yet, it is encouraging to me to realize that God does have plans for me in the new year. His will is probably not much different from last year but I get excited realizing that He already knows what is going to transpire in 2012; there will be new, unique opportunities and situations impacting my life, some I can anticipate and others that will be a total surprise.

When contemplating the future I love Jeremiah 29:11–”For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” I have sometimes questioned this promise when the year brought tragedy, grief in the loss of a loved one, personal attacks, criticism and disappointment. But we can see a larger perspective in retrospect and understand that God meant even trials and experiences we would see as calamity to bless us through growth in faith and reliance on Him.

Whatever happens in 2012 the promise of God is assured. “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22-23). It is good to know as we arise to meet each new day that God has prepared a whole new supply of grace, mercy and love for us and for whatever needs we encounter. That’s applicable for all 365 days of 2012. If God’s faithfulness is assured each day, that includes January 1 and for the new year as well. No matter the failure or successes–the blessings or trials–of 2011, a new year, and each day of the new year, can be a new beginning.

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