One of the exciting things we look forward to at the beginning of the New Year is the expectation of hope and promise that the new year brings. We sit and reflect over the past year and look introspectively into our lives to see what areas we have experienced success. We also look at areas that we need improvement in or desire to see different outcomes. The beginning of the year is not the only time we may experience this feeling of hope and aspiration. According to Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the LORD’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” God’s mercies are extended to us each day. And for this reason, we can look forward to the hope and grace that unfolds before us daily.
One might ask, “What is mercy?” Mercy is defined compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within ones power to punish or harm. God can punish us. He would be justified in doing so because sin must be judged. 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” However, God extends mercy unto us because of His unfailing love and compassion towards us. Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace, you have been saved”.
Mercy is not something that God owes to us. It is something God extends in kindness and grace to those who do not deserve it. His mercy does not run out. When we come to Him in true repentance, His mercy will overtake us like the waves of the sea because He is so rich in mercy. God’s mercy shows up in our lives at salvation. Then, God continues to show mercy in forgiveness. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Psalms 116:5 “The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.” We do not have to feel overwhelmed or condemned because of our past mistakes. Romans 8:1 states, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. We have new life in Christ Jesus, and we must walk in freedom from our past mistakes and failures. We can look forward to each new day as a fresh opportunity to strive towards our goals and face our obstacles with an optimistic outlook. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. Though we may face challenges and struggles, we serve a God who will use all things to work for our good. We can take comfort in that.
Hope is the ammunition that is necessary as we move forward and walk forward in faith. Franklin Roosevelt once said, “We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon”. According to Jeremiah 17:7, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD.” Hope is choosing to look for and anticipate positive outcomes, even during trying times and circumstances. We are called to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. So, as we take time to evaluate our lives and work towards our goals; let us not forget the mercies God has extended towards us. Let us be found faithful in also extending the same mercy towards others.