Celebrating a happier new year

BY PASTOR SARAH EDWARDS

Our Gregorian calendar dictates to us that a new year can only begin at the demise of the last second of the last hour in the last day of the last year we have experienced.  2014 ended at its darkest hour; when the old year experienced its timely demise. We call it midnight. Only then did we celebrate the new beginning with the new year. A joyous day sprung forth and we celebrated our new year in hopes of being given new opportunities to complete and or maintain the resolutions we made.

Though there’s no real difference between it and any other day, in our mind and thought it’s a marked period, which we regard as one of the milestones set up on the highway of our life. It’s only within our imagination of our accepting that there’s any close of one year and beginning of another; and yet, it has all the forces fitting as if it is a great fact.

During this time we review our past, set goals to improve our future and if we tell ourselves the truth we freely admit that often things happen to us (and to our loved ones) that make no sense at all. Try as we might, we can’t trace God’s handprint in every circumstance because God paints on a canvas much larger than our tiny vision.

All of us have experience moments in our lives that we have done all we understand that God has required of us. Yet, at times we can feel utterly alone even in crowded rooms. When life tumbles in around us, even after we have tried to serve God to the best of our ability, there are moments when we feel forgotten by God and no respect from man.

There’s no avoiding such moments of utter despair.  Sometimes they are brought on ourselves by the choices we make. Sometimes it’s because others are determine to control you by binding your soul through oppression, manipulation or alienation.  You are not alone. I have lived a long time and I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken, nor their seed begging bread.  Hope springs up in us when we hear our risen and reigning LORD’s words: “Behold, I make all things new.” Never the less, when you find yourself in a hard moment we must resolve to return to God’s loving arms and give Him thanks in all things.

How can we give thanks when our heart is broken? How can we give thanks when we’re confused? How can we give thanks when we’re angry at what sin has done in the world?  Because by giving thanks when we don’t feel like it, we’re proclaiming God’s wisdom and plan for us far exceeds our puny imagination.
Therefore, never forget to remember God is sovereign. Nothing happens by chance. God causes all things to work together for his children’s good. Hard times reveal our weakness, break our pride, and show us our total need for God. God is faithful even when we’re faithless. God’s Word will be vindicated. All God’s promises are true. Both heaven and hell are real. When we are weak, He’s strong. His grace/favor is sufficient for every situation. There are no impossible cases with God.
Even when we feel alone, we’re never alone. Our Lord Jesus feels our pain. Our doubts can’t cancel God’s work in us. We’re still God’s children even when our faith falters. Stuff happens. Bad stuff happens. Really bad stuff sometimes happens to some very good people. The storms in our life are not a detour, a mistake or sent to destroy us.

Regardless, in 2015 keep an attitude of gratitude because it perfectly describes living in a fallen world. I have lived long enough to know that behind every smiling face there is a story because when we factor God into our equation, we can rest upon the Rock of our Salvation, then and only then do we have the grounds for saying “Thank you, Lord,” for empowering  me to celebrate a happier new year!

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