Starting Anew with Hope

Think back for a moment to this annual event: going back to school. Every year children gear up for school in August.  Mom’s are getting their youngest ready for kindergarten. Students are planning what they and their friends are going to wear for that first day. There is a sense of excitement in the air.  Students are looking forward to seeing friends, meeting new teachers, and getting to learn new things.  The teachers are also looking forward to sharing knowledge, challenging their students, and seeing their students’ minds grow.

I know that the sense of excitement this year that family’s feel about the start of a new school year has been muted because of the pandemic, but it was still there. I think that there is something about that “starting anew” that is truly good for us. So, even when we knew it would be bumpy, families that were heading back into school this fall had a sense of anticipation for the school year. That is a good thing. Sometimes I think that we all need something like going back to school to get us excited again. Starting anew helps us notice what we are missing. It helps us think through what we want our relationship with God to be. Have we lost the sense of excitement in learning new things, in following the call of God in our lives?  Have we lost the sense of expectancy in our lives that children have every year?

I think we need that sense of the “new” in our lives.  We need to know, like the weeping prophet Jeremiah, that God’s mercies are new every morning. He said,

22 The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Life doesn’t have to be just the same thing every day.  God is doing something exciting in our lives.  He is working!  Yet, does our sense of excitement equal the hope that God’s work in our lives should give us? What keeps us from living in that excitement, that hope?

Perhaps we need something that starts us over with God.  What will it be for you?  I have used conferences or a special trip to start anew with God.  I have been encouraged by our local retreat center to come out for a weekend to focus on God.  It doesn’t have to be much – but it has to mean something to you.  It needs to be something that you anticipate.  Whatever it is, do you know that you need it today?

I think that we feel reticent about having times that we start over because we are no longer kids.  However, kids have this part easy.  They have to start over every year.  It’s required of them! Perhaps we are out of practice. Instead of feeling uneasy about starting over with God, we need to consider it a necessary part of growing. Farmers do this with their fields. They start fresh with new seed every year. There is new hope that this year is full of possibilities. Every new project begins this way. The craft project, sewing project, model airplane project, or wood working project all begin with a plan and a hope that something good or amazing is just about to begin. This hope is what we need in our relationship with God. It is the hope of new possibilitites.

So, start over this fall or winter with God.  Perhaps you will use Thanksgiving or Christmas as your “starting anew” point! Notice the work that He is doing in you.  Enjoy the closeness that you’ve been searching for.  Rejoice today that His mercies truly are new every morning.  He is faithful! He is working in us!

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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2 Responses to Starting Anew with Hope

  1. Christine says:

    Sometimes, especially after times of tragedy or trial, starting over seems impossible. Then, God shows that He never forgot us! He is there all along looking out for us and helping us to start anew. For me, this means recovering after the loss of a loved one. God’s mercies are new, and He has shown me that where I thought all was lost, He is gently showing me that there are still open doors and new doors to walk through that I thought were impossible. He is truly amazing, and I praise Him! Two quotes from famous Christian women have been helping me as I come to understand that all is not lost:
    1. “As we lose our hold on visible things, the invisible ones become more precious.” (Elisabeth Elliott)
    2. “If you look at the world, you will be distressed. If you look within, you will be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.” (Corrie ten Boom)
    Also, I’ve been thinking on a verse today as well. Colossians 3:2 – “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” If I can keep my eyes heavenward, then I will one day find that the treasures laid up in heaven are so much sweeter than any I would leave on earth. So, I step out anew, still missing my loved one, with eyes still brimming with tears and memories from time to time, but enjoying the new things that God has in store. (And sometimes those ‘new things’ are actually not ‘new’ but ‘found anew’!) Praise God!

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