I’ve been hearing a lot of people (nearly everyone I talk to) say things like “I can’t wait for this year to be over!” or “thank goodness it’s almost 2021!” I’m sure you’ve been hearing it too, or maybe you’ve said something similar recently. 2020 has no doubt been a rough year for many reasons. A global pandemic, racial injustice and a critical election are just a few reasons we’ve all experienced grief, loss, anxiety, isolation, and separation this past year. It’s no wonder that we’re ready for this year to be over!
The thing is, though, when the clock strikes midnight tonight, those things will still be here.
When the calendar says 2021, COVID will still claim lives, racial injustice will still be a horrific problem, and your candidate will still have either lost or soon take his seat in the White House. I don’t say these things to be pessimistic or to suggest 2021 won’t be a better year; but as a reminder. A reminder that hope is not found in tomorrow.
Friend, your hope is not found in tomorrow. It is not found in a new year. Nor is it found in health, justice, or a politician or political party. Hope is found in the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Don’t misunderstand what I’m getting at here, it is not wrong to hope for better days. It is not wrong to pray for and hope for good health, cures and vaccines, peace and equality, godly leaders and policies. In fact, we would be foolish to not ask God for those things! However, our hope should be rooted in the promises God has for us - we belong to him, we are redeemed by a Savior who bled and died for us, and we will see an unclouded day and live together in unity forever where there are no tears or sadness or pain. That is where our hope lies. And if our hope lies in these truths, then it should not waver due to the circumstances we face.
As you reflect on this past year, I challenge you to assess where your hope came from. Did your hope come from good health? Financial stability? The color of your skin? A political party? A presidential candidate? Or did your hope come from a real and living God who calls you his own, who loves you so much he sent his son to die for you and who offers you promises that are eternal? Does your hope waver? Did you think your hope came from God but found yourself in despair when your circumstances don’t match up with what you had planned? What steps can you take to grow your faith so that your hope would be rooted in Jesus in 2021 and beyond?
I truly wish each of you a happy and safe new year and pray that 2021 would bring joy, peace and love. But even more, I pray it would bring lasting hope and salvation to hurting and broken people.