2020 was hard for many of us and we are glad to see the back of it. We’re putting our hope in a New Year because we think it can’t possibly be worse than the last. Who would have thought that schools would close? That we’d be confined to our homes and that they would become our places of work, or even that going to work could mean risking your life. It’s as though we were living in a bygone era. Who’d have thought that Churches and other places of worship would be unable to welcome people, or encourage people in their faith and share practically and spiritually? Planes would be grounded, hugs would be banned and loneliness, separation and distance would be the norm. These were the difficulties placed on us by the pandemic but, other pains were felt in the church, personal and corporate. We seemed to spiral from one heartache to another, apparently with no end in sight and no place to land.
But we do have a place to land, and there is an end in sight. Not here and now, not the vaccine or any other scientific saviour. Not the government’s determination to instil in us the need to maintain optimism and hope. Not even at the end of the pandemic, because unfortunately we live in a fallen world and inevitably more suffering and more pain will come. But our place to land, our security is in The Triune God, who is steadfast and sure, immovable and never changing. He says I am the Lord and I change not. He is our place of refuge and our source of strength, our provider who holds us in the palm of His hands. He gives us hope for an inheritance that’s imperishable, undefiled and unfading, which is our future, our end in sight. If I’ve learnt anything this year, it's that things, moments, places, people that we rely on and presume will always be, won’t always be. Essentials that are foundational to our life that we depend on and enjoy can be snatched away from us in a heartbeat. But, if we are God’s chosen people and we persevere, we’re reminded in Romans 8 v 31-39 of God's everlasting love.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 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.
Paul Tripp and Timothy Lane say in their book 'How People Change'.
'Your destination is secure. All the things that are truly worth living for cannot be taken away from you! Yes you can lose your job, your health your house, your car, or your friend. The loss of any of these would be hard. But you cannot lose you identity in Christ. You cannot lose his love and his grace. You cannot lose his gift of forgiveness or the place reserved for you in heaven'.