“Change and decay in all around I see.” So wrote Henry Lyte in his well-known hymn “Abide with Me” (TLH #552:2).
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10, NIV)
Glancing backward at the landscape we have traveled in calendar year 2012, we can surely relate. We have witnessed numerous changes, many for the worse. Our United States economy has continued to sag. Prices at the pump have escalated. Food costs have skyrocketed. Devastating hurricane storms have drastically altered the lives of thousands, bringing pain and heartache. Many have experienced health problems, and families have undergone change as dear ones have been taken away through death.
Is there anything that has stayed the same? Thankfully, yes! The undeserved love of our heavenly Father and the promises He has given us in the Bible did not waver during the last year. In the midst of the manifold changes we have witnessed or personally experienced, His merciful goodness has stood out in bold relief. He has been our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. He has showered upon us countless blessings of body and soul. The words of Joshua to the Israelites of old have held true: “Not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled” (Joshua 23:14, NIV). For this, let us thank and praise Him!
What about calendar year 2013? As we embark on the pathway of the future (over which we have no control), we may draw comfort from the assurance that the God of grace who has been our Help in ages past will be our Hope in years to come.
Each promise He has given will surely be fulfilled. Here is a
- Our God will continue to use His Word as a lamp to our feet and light for our path (Psalm 119:105); He will use the Bible to instruct us in all we need to know for our salvation in Christ our Redeemer; He will use the Bible to rebuke and correct us if/when we stray from His paths; He will train us in righteousness so that we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
- He will bless us through the Word with Christian fortitude to weather stormy trials we are bound to encounter; He will give us confidence, born of faith, that each trouble He allows to touch our life is intended for our welfare (Romans 8:28), for the testing and purifying of our faith (1 Peter 1:7), to guide us along the way that leads to glory (Psalm 73:24), so that we will say: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
- He will use His gospel to comfort us with His forgiveness. As we come with penitent hearts to His throne of grace, imploring His pardon for our sins of thought, word, and deed, He will cheer us with His promise that “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
Could it be that 2013 will be the year when the Lord fulfills His Word to come again to judge the living and the dead, and to take us into the mansions He has gone to prepare for us (John 14:3)? Only He knows.
In any case, come what may, with hopes anchored in our faithful Lord, we may rest assured that it will be a truly blessed year.
Life is changing, changing ever As the seasons come and go;
Friends we love no longer with us, Thus ‘tis ever, ever so;
But our Savior changeth never; Nothing from His love can sever.
All around us swiftly fading, Fading as an autumn leaf;
Earthly fame and earthly honor, All below is very brief.
But our Savior changes never; He abides the same as ever.
Yes! Below there naught remaineth, All is frail and fleeting here;
But His Word our soul sustaineth, This our earthly path doth cheer.
That our Savior changeth never, Nothing from His love can sever.
* R.C. Rein, Treasury of Themes and Illustrations, NPH, 1983; p. 403 (adapted).