But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
It’s a rainy afternoon in Georgia, and my mood matches the scene outside my window. For as long as I can remember, I’ve used the last few days of December to reflect on the year just past and plan for the one ahead. But a week of isolation due to a positive Covid test may have given me too much time for my yearend ruminations.
Recent celebrations hammered home the resounding headline for 2021: Mom’s gone. The New Year won’t change that or bring her back.
And, already looming on the horizon, more significant changes for our family, the details and what-ifs of which are disconcerting. Plus, there will no doubt be challenges currently known only to God.
Fighting for Joy
As you may have gleaned from my last couple of posts, though, I’ve been valiantly fighting for joy throughout this first holiday season without Mom by counseling my heart with truth. This post is no different, so I’ll let Scripture do the talking for a while:
- Deuteronomy 31:8: “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.”
- John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
- Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
- 2 Corinthians 4:17: This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.
- James 1:2-4: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Proven O’er and O’er
Scripture is the inspired word of God and to be trusted regardless of our feelings or circumstances; however, one of the things I like best about growing older is I have more and more real-life examples of God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness to recall. As the lyrics to ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus say, “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more!”
There will be challenges this year, but the Lord has never left or forsaken me, and He never will. In fact, He uses the hard things to draw me closer to Him, to grow my faith, and to comfort and encourage me so that I might comfort and encourage others with the same comfort and encouragement I’ve received (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
And, just as there are unknown difficulties ahead, there will be joy and blessing beyond what I can ask or imagine because God does work all things together for good for His beloved children.
Encourage One Another
I don’t know how you’re feeling today, dear reader. Maybe you’re entering the new year buoyed by fun family gatherings, having enjoyed all your favorite foods and traditions. Then again, you may be like me, fighting for joy, having engaged in those traditions without a loved one, and facing more changes in the near future.
Regardless of our circumstances, we can take heart in knowing we belong to the One who never changes (Hebrews 13:8). Our loving Heavenly Father is always working out His purposes according to His good and perfect plans and will see them through to completion, when Jesus returns to set all things right. Therefore, let us encourage our own hearts and one another with all we know to be true as we await His promised return.
Dear Lord, thank You that we can come to You with our joys and sorrows, our hopes and fears, knowing that You are a compassionate Father who remembers we are dust. Your mercies are new every morning, and your grace is sufficient for each day. Thank You that we’ll never face life alone because You are with us, now and forever.
P.S. Since I started this post some three hours ago, the rain has stopped, and the sun has peeked out a time or two, providing the amen to my thoughts.
 Louisa M. R. Stead