This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope:
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
Finally, 2017 is here. Or perhaps more honestly, finally, 2016 is over. This past year was one of the weirdest, darkest years in recent memory. From world events that included dozens of terrorist attacks, Great Britain’s vote to leave the EU and our own cantankerous and divisive presidential election to the loss of scores of loved and respected public figures, 2016 had more than its share of hardships.
And that’s just the short list of events which impacted the world as a whole. Each of us had individual trials to deal with during the year, from the passing of loved ones, including my brother’s wife of 37 years, to lost jobs, illness and more.
That’s not to say the year was all bad, but I don’t know anyone who wants to go back and relive 2016. So we find ourselves thankful for the fresh start a new year promises.
Given the clean slate state of mind that comes every January, it may seem odd that I chose a passage from the Old Testament book of Lamentations for this first entry in the new year. That was not my intention, at least not consciously.
I was searching for the verse that talks about God’s mercies being new every morning. It had escaped my mind that it was buried among the dark, dirge like poetry of Lamentations.
But as I went back and read again those verses, they seemed, to me at least, quite appropriate for the beginning of 2017.
“This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’”
Those few verses from chapter 3 of Lamentations become so much more powerful in the context of the rest of the book. Lamentations deals with the aftermath of the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 586 B.C. (My guess is that ancient Israel was happy to see 585 B.C.) There is little else in these five chapters to offer much hope. Yet in the midst of grief and the realization that these terrible events were brought on as the result of their own sin, there is still hope. God’s faithfulness, his lovingkindnesses and compassions, springing new each morning.
It seems unlikely that 2017 will see more of the same type of surrealistic messes visited upon us in 2016. But, in light of the truth of God’s great faithfulness, it doesn’t really matter. His mercies are new every morning, His compassions never fail. That is a source of hope which leads to joy which will see us through this new year and all the new years yet to come.
Happy New Year,
These verses inspired Thomas O. Chisholm to write the lyrics to Great Is Thy Faithfulness. I’ve included two versions of that song here.