Dear friends in Christ!
One of the most common things which people do at the end of a year or at the beginning of a new year is look back at the events which have happened in our lives over that past year. In doing this, it is easy to see the blessings which God has so graciously provided us, however, it is also easy to see, remember, and possibly re-live the tragedies and hard times which we’ve experienced. No matter how many changes our lives have undergone, one thing is for sure … whether we are reminiscing over wonderful memories or whether we are sorrowfully remembering the hard challenges of life, God’s gifts of His presence, His promises, and His never failing love have not changed.
Now this is easy to say and it may be even easier to see when you and I look back at all the wonderful times this past year. But when we look back at all the hard times, when we look back at the tragedies and challenges we’ve faced, hearing that God’s gifts of His presence, His promises, and His never failing love have not changed is a bit harder to swallow or even accept.
It is hard to accept that God is with us in the midst of our tragedies because it doesn’t feel like God is with us. It actually feels like I’m trying to make it through these hard times on my own. The reality of it is, as hard as it may be to accept that in the midst of our tragedies and challenges that God is with us and still loves … He does.
James, the brother of Jesus says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). Simply put … God does not change.
“But pastor?” I know. I’m right there with you. In the midst of the hard times, it is really, really easy to question if God is with us or not. It is really easy to question if He is in control. These types of questions which arise in us do so because of our sin but also because we are basing our questions on God’s presence and control in our lives with our feeble emotions. That is the unique thing about God.
When God says that He loves you … His love is not that mushy kind of love we have for one another. It’s not that brotherly type of love either. God’s love for you is not a type of love that is based on His emotional feelings at any given point in time. God’s love for you is based on a covenant, a promise which He has made with you through Jesus. God’s love is a type of love which, to quote James, “does not change like shifting shadows.” God has promised to love you! He has promised to be with you always! To show you that He does love you, to show you that His promises are never broken, God sent His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
As we enter this new year, we look back at the year now gone and even though we may have all faced some joyous times, we also faced some challenges and changes which were very hard emotionally. But in the midst of those times, our Heavenly Father was taking care of us and bringing us through.
As we enter this new year, we look forward to a year where we don’t know what is going to happen. We don’t know what joys await us nor do we know what kind of challenges and struggles lie ahead. The one thing we do know and can believe with the utmost of confidence is that God will be with us. He will be with us because He promises in His holy Word written in the Bible, proclaimed by pastors, and living in our Savior Jesus Christ that He “does not change like the shifting shadows.”
As we enter this new year, I pray that you will be comforted by our Savior Jesus Christ who is with you now and forever more, even into eternity.
Happy New Year!