Because of the Lords great love his compassions never fail. They are new every morning.
- Lamentations 3:22-23
The only brand new car I ever owned was just six weeks old when I backed it into my sons car - and scraped $1,000 worth of paint and brand-newness from one whole side.
I had an excuse: My son had parked slightly behind and to the left of my car, in my blind spot, where he had never parked before.
Alas, my repetitious speech was nothing more than a futile attempt at handling my hurt and, I soon confessed, my stupidity. (Today I dont back up, pull into traffic, or make a turn of any kind without craning my neck as far as it will go in all directions.)
I was mortified, especially when the man at the body shop looked at the odometer and gasped, Six hundred miles! How could you have an accident when the car was just driven off the lot?
Then, noticing my long face, he said good-naturedly, Well, nothing stays new forever.
Its a new year and, if not a new car, weve just received something new for Christmas. By now, perhaps, weve also scraped some of the newness off one of those gifts we thought would look new at least longer than this. Were also promising (resolving) what new things well do - or not do - in the New Year. Possibly, with 2003 already a few days old, one of our new resolutions is already broken, too.
Behold, I make all things new, God says about 50 times in the Bible. From the new land He promised His people as the Scripture story begins, to the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1) He describes as the New Testament comes to a close, God never tires of displaying the gifts He has for those who follow Him, or repeating the promise that such things as His unbreakable peace, joy and eternal life can be ours forever.
In contrast to a fail-safe God, imperfect men and women are more apt to imitate the impetuous Apostle Peter - Oh, no, Lord, Ill never deny you; you can count on me! he said, before a mixture of fear and cowardice swept his resolution away - than we are to follow through on the promises we make to Him and others. Like Peter, our words are often stronger than our strength to carry them out.
New Years resolutions arent exactly legal contracts. In fact, most are made in jest: Well read more food labels and cut down on fat and cholesterol; clean the attic before we put the Christmas decorations away; read the books we received last Christmas; pay off our Christmas debts before the bill comes from the IRS; and promise other things we know in our hearts we wont do.
God, on the other hand, has no feet of clay, and no flesh weaker than a willing spirit. Neither does He make His resolutions to benefit Himself. He makes them all for us. Nothing stays new forever? Nothing made with human hands or lips, that is. Our products and promises don't come with eternal guarantees like the following stay-new gifts God is waiting to shower upon you and me:
Morning by morning I dispense my justice, and every new day I will not fail... (Zephaniah 3:5).
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old life has gone, and the new has come! (II Corinthians 5:17)
Behold, I make all things new (Revelation 21:5).
Gods faithfulness and compassions never fail. They are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
(Barbara Seaborn is a local free-lance writer. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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