Do you remember where you were December 31, 2019? If you’re anything like me, you were more than ready for a fresh start. You were ready to crush some new goals, visit new places, spend that heavily-depended-upon paycheck a little more wisely, seal off some disappointments from the previous year and basically get your life together. Or at least a little more together than the year before.
Every New Year’s Eve, I am hopeful. Hopeful for something new. Hopeful for change. Hopeful for progress. And there is indeed progress, but inevitably, every year I ride the wave of unmet expectations as I’m reminded that I am not the one in control.
So what do we even say after a year like 2020? Where did it leave you on December 31st? If it left you exhausted, disappointed and hesitant to have high hopes for the new year, I’d like to hold in front of you the highest of all hopes that cannot be quarantined, cancelled or voted out of office.
Hope is a powerful force to be reckoned with. We cannot move forward without hope. But if we do have hope, we are unstoppable. And I’m not talking about hope like “I hope 2021 is better than 2020.” Last year may have been full of hardships and disappointments, but it may have actually done us a favor in revealing and reminding us where true Hope is found.
You are invited
If last year (or maybe accumulative years) left you reeling, it’s my prayer that you can take comfort in the fact that you’ve been invited into a conversation with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit where you can express your feelings – as raw and confused and perhaps even angry as they may be. Over and over in Scripture, we have accounts of individuals in utter turmoil, telling Almighty God how they felt, but then (and this is key) they tell Him what they know is true. A very powerful example of this is found in the book of Lamentations chapter three where the writer had just spent two and a half chapters expressing to the Lord anguish after anguish of his current state and the disappointments he was facing. He then almost interrupts himself and says this:
“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.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:21-26).
There is hope
He is our Hope. And this Hope does not disappoint. (Romans 5:1-5)
Hope is fuel to the fire of our worship, and this is why it is vital to continually preach the Gospel to ourselves as Christians (and fill our playlists with Biblical, hope-saturated songs). We’re a forgetful people, and God knows this, so He gave us His Word – written and handed down through generations, so we could read it over and over again, so that no matter what has been stripped away, we can still worship a God who has made Himself known to us.
Here is some Gospel truth you can savor (preach to yourself) right now:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:36-39).
There is no greater Hope than the promise that we will see our God. Nothing can take that away. This hope was bought by Christ’s own blood and sealed by the Holy Spirit until our faith is sight – all to the praise of His Glory (Ephesians 1:13-14).
This is what we cling to until we get to see Christ – our living Hope – face to face. This is how we worship. So for today, for the rest of 2021, and the rest of our time here on earth, “may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
Grace Coleman is the Worship Leader at New Life Baptist Church in Davie. If you’re a worship leader interested in getting involved with Village Hymns, please email [email protected] or visit our website at villagehymns.com/get-involved.
For more on Village Hymns, visit goodnewsfl.org/uniting-the-church-in-worship/