He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
“[His mercies] are new every morning.” This could easily be expanded to “His mercies are new every year.” As we have arrived at another time of reflection, we find ourselves mulling over the failures and successes of the past year. We scramble our brains to enact our pipe-dream “New Year’s Resolutions” which, among other things, include not going back for seconds, perhaps reading more books, or accomplishing some goal we had actually been looking at for the last decade.
Christians have far more to consider, not only because we have a broader set of values within which we can set goals, but also because above all we seek to live coram Deo, to live as though “before the face of God.” Our sanctification is a long road, mapped on an ever-increasing incline. And it will always feel long and steep. But as we’re traveling toward the destination of conformity to Christ’s image we become aware of a rather jarring paradox: it’s exactly those bumps in the road, those breakdowns, those embarrassing or otherwise injurious fishtails off into the ditch on the side, that bring us closer to our destination. Suffering becomes our sanctification.
1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
And so, in light of all the ways we watched ourselves fail last year, how shall we proceed?
1) Stop separating ourselves from our failures, and instead own them. Only then can we
2) anticipate failure, and preempt it with diligence.
3) Study the Word, and
4) pray to God that He would reveal your sins to you, and name them; then create habits of fighting them and seek out personal accountability.
The mercy and grace of God are infinite, as God is infinite. They never deplete. The reason they are called “new” is that they are always there, as powerful and glorious and effective as ever. The reason they’re new “every morning” is that God is timeless. He never sleeps, never suffers from lack of sleep as we do (though he is able to sympathize, since Christ did), and thus He can hold us up while we stumble out of bed, even as we curse the morning for arriving far too soon. It is Christ and his blood that has paid for our cursing, our sinning, our laziness, our arrogance, our faithlessness; and it is Christ who ever lives to intercede on our behalf to God. We must therefore force the circumstances of our lives into perspective, and seek to enlarge our worldview-lens to as wide as the Bible is deep, which means we must become saturated in it so that its truth becomes ours.
By the grace of God Choosing Hats will continue to educate Christians on magnifying and defending the Christian faith. By the grace of God we will never become a mere brand but will instead serve as a signpost pointing to God’s glory.