Tim Hartzler, Campus Pastor at CCHO, shares some insights into the new year as well as encouragement from the Word of God.
The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time for us to reflect on the past year, take inventory of our lives and determine what changes that we would like to see in our future. This contemplation will often lead to some sort of new year's resolution. We are all excited about the progress, positive changes, and success we are going to have this year. Forget that roughly ninety-one percent of new year’s resolutions fail. Forget all the times we have said it in the past and never followed through. This year is going to be different! The new year is a time for hope.
But suppose the new year wasn’t a time of hoping for a better future, but just another reminder of a failed, unfair, or cruel past. Unfortunately, this is often the sad reality for so many of the residents at CCHO. Many of them see the new year as a reminder of just how long they have been away from their family, or ‘in the system’. For them, they are often still hurt from having to spend Christmas away from their closest loved ones, and then they are reminded that the new year marks off one more year on the growing tally of difficult years.
This can lead to hopelessness. And so, at a time when most of us are hopeful of a new beginning, many of the residents we work with sink into despair. Many choose to not make resolutions at all because they feel it would just lead to disappointment. How sad this is!
So, whether we are seeking to encourage a child in despair, or we want encouragement for ourselves after we fail (again!) to keep our own new year’s resolution, what do we do? What can we do? We can look to God’s Word. In John 16:33, Jesus reminds us that despite facing trouble in this world, Jesus has overcome the world. In the sixth chapter of Matthew, Jesus reminds us that we have a loving Father in heaven who cares for us and will provide for our needs. In John 3:16 we are reminded that God’s love for us stretched so far as to offer his own son for us. In the first chapter of James, we are reminded that the testing of our faith is beneficial through building us up. In the book of Hebrews, we are reminded that we have a great high priest, in Christ, who has gone before us and intercedes for us on our behalf. In the fifth chapter of Romans, we are reminded that we have peace with God, through Christ Jesus. In the eighth chapter of Romans, we are assured that for those in Christ, God works all things out for the good, and that nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love.
Let us be encouraged, not by our own self, but rather by God’s own Word. And would we pray, that in a time that can be so difficult for many children at CCHO, that they too would be encouraged and drawn to the Gospel.
Campus Pastor at CCHO