New Year. New Hope

We’re not quite two weeks into a new year, but the heaviness of 2020 still weighs on hearts and minds. We want to claim that a new year fills us with new hope, but that’s not always the case.

Even if New Hope is the name on our church sign.

Even if our hope is secure in Jesus Christ.

Some days, the weight of circumstances and the chaos of life steals in and eclipses the truth of hope.

Have you heard the story of Job? Let’s face it, his story makes 2020 look like a playday with friends.

I don’t think I’ve overstated that. Job loved God. Job worshipped God faithfully. God had blessed him with property, wealth, servants, and ten children.

But all these blessings made the Tempter angry. When God recommended Job as an example of righteousness, Satan claimed he could make Job curse God.

Then Job had a very bad day. He lost his livelihood and his servants and worst of all, his children. But Satan was wrong. Job didn’t curse God. Even when God allowed Satan to take away Job’s health, Job held onto his faith and hope in God.

In fact, as I sat down to write this post, I searched the word “hope” at the KingJamesBibleOnline website.

You know how many times the word “hope” appears in Job’s story? Seventeen times.

I’d like to say that every verse speaks positively on the subject, but you must recall that half the chapters are written by his “friends.” They didn’t understand the true nature of God and did their best to discourage Job from his faith, hope and trust.

But Job’s hope in the Lord wasn’t shaken.

And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.

Job 11:18 View whole chapter | See verse in context

I’m thankful for Job’s story. No matter how bad things got for us in 2020 (and may family suffered some serious losses), I knew God remained in control. His plan was best.

The truth is, God’s plan almost always includes suffering.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

1 Peter 5:10 View whole chapter | See verse in context

As much as we want to avoid pain, the path to “perfection” always goes through the fire of trials and tribulation.

Thank You, Jesus, that I have not suffered as much as Job. I praise You for the many blessings that douse the fires of loss. Help me to trust Your plan no matter how little I understand it.

My verse for 2021 is James 5:11: “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

God is with you. He is full of pity and tender mercy. Press on, my friend. We have new hope for this new year because we serve a faithful God.

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