As I’ve written before, I’m not generally a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions; it seems to me they are often little more than a recipe for deferred disappointment. However, I do think New Year is a good opportunity to take stock of where we are and where we’re heading.
Of course, where we are and where we’re heading will differ for each of us, but it seems to me there’s one thing we all need in life, whatever our age or social and geographical location: more chances. We need the chance to learn from our mistakes; the chance to show grace where we have previously withheld it; the chance to say sorry where we have previously dug ourselves into a deep rut of pride; the chance to open our arms in welcoming embrace where we have previously folded them and turned our backs.
We often carry deep in our subconscious the assumption that life will only offer us so many chances. This assumption may not be without merit: it is often rooted in real, painful personal experience. So here’s what happens: we mess up; we eventually get over it and try again, only to mess up a second time; society, other people and our own damaged hearts tell us “Three strikes and you’re out!”… and so we give up on ourselves and close the door on any chance of our past mistakes and failures being redeemed.
Really, what I want to say today is very simple: however loudly the world may shout that you’ve had it, you’ve used up all your chances, and you might as well give up, God offers you another chance, and another, and another.
I don’t mean God offers you another chance to impress him by getting it “right”; I mean he offers you a thousand (and more) chances to be freed from the burden of past mistakes, to grow in the sure and certain knowledge of his freeing love and acceptance, and to let the light of his love and grace shine more brightly through you and onto those around you. Here’s how the author of Lamentations put it:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
You may feel as though behind you lies a catalogue of failure and disappointment. You may feel you don’t deserve another shot. But the God in whom you live and move and have your being says otherwise.
The sun will rise tomorrow on a whole new year of steadfast love and mercy. My prayer for you and me alike is that we may dare to believe that the river of God’s all-forgiving compassion will never run dry, and that we might therefore lean into 2016 with confidence and a renewed sense of freedom.
Wishing you a very happy and healthy New Year.
[ Image: Brandy ]