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I’m not sure how you feel about saying good-bye to 2012, but many people I know are glad to see it go. Several friends lost family members during the year; three lost their moms and another lost her dad. I can only begin to imagine their sadness, and am so thankful that both my parents are still alive and doing well. For those of you have been praying for Bella, I’m happy to tell you that her most recent tests show no evidence of disease, but it was certainly a challenging year for her family, and they were eager to see the end of it. Albert Chretien’s body was found a year and a half after he went missing in the Nevada wilderness. It meant closure for the family but reopened their tender hearts to the sadness.

These are the kinds of things that regularly happen in the broken world we live in, but often at the end of a year we look back with regret, and look toward the new year with hope. I, at least, always hope that the new year will be better than the last. Do we have any justifiable reason to do so? After all, the world we live in will still be broken until Christ returns. The good news: God is in the restoration business. In Joel’s prophecy, we read of God’s judgement, symbolized by a swarm of locusts devastating the land of Judah; they thunder ahead like war horses and they charge like an army of soldiers. (Joel 2: 4, Joel 2:7) But the Lord is willing to show mercy and compassion to those who humbly repent and return to Him. (Joel 2:12-13) Joel 2:25 is even more hopeful. Not only will God stop the attack of the locusts and show mercy to his people, but He will restore what has been destroyed. The story of Job is a prime example of how God does this. Job endured much suffering, lost his entire family and all his belongings, but God restored his health and returned to him double what he had lost. (Job 42:10)

No matter what regrettable things happened to you, or because of you, last year, God is able to make good come of even the worst circumstances. (Romans 8:28) We only need to stop striving to do things solely in our own strength, come humbly to Him and trust Him to take care of us. The devastating things that happened in the past cannot be changed, but the future can be brighter. God has told us that in this world we will have trouble, (John 16:33) but God has also promised us peace (John 14:27) and joy. (John 15:11) As this new year begins, I wish you, my readers, all of God’s best. May you be abundantly blessed.


The Israelites were slow learners. They spent a lot of time doing the wrong thing—not trusting God, not following His guidelines—and then when life got hard, they repented and asked for God’s mercy. In Isaiah 64:1-2, they begged God to tear the heavens apart, and to come down and do the miraculous to save them from their enemies. Even though they were constantly falling down on the job as God’s chosen people, they always knew that they and God were on the same side. Their adversaries were God’s adversaries.

Isaiah 64:4 tells us that since the beginning of time, there has been no one else like God. No eye has seen, no ear has heard any other god who is like Him. But this God who is beyond our imaginings is also the God who is full of mercy and will intervene on behalf of those who trust in Him. The Israelites counted on that, because after trying it on their own, over and over again, they realized that they couldn’t make it without God’s help.

I’m not sure that much is different with us today. That is because we just cannot fathom the infinite nature of God with our finite minds. We don’t understand His power, so we try, over and over again, to do things on our own. Then when we run into difficulties that are more than we can handle, many of us, like the Israelites, come back to God and say, “Oh, yeah, I remember now. I can’t do this without you.” The good news is that God is not forgetful like we are. He is faithful, and He who is rich in mercy, and full of love for us, will continue to intervene for us when we put our trust in Him. (Isaiah 64:4, Ephesians 2:4-5)