I love new starts. I used to think I was so fond of them because detours to the pit made them a life necessity. I believed new beginnings were primarily for those drawn to cycles of self-destruction like me. Those who had been humiliated by sin AGAIN. After all, why would people living in any semblance of victory need a new start?
To the glory of God alone and His relentless grace, I haven't cycled back to that pit in years. But you could have knocked me over with a feather when I came to the startling realization that not all hardship is caused by sin. Sometimes difficulty comes to us smack-dab in the center of God's will. Anyone who lives life plugged into the human race, still bothering to give a rip, nearly loses heart for need of a new start. I've never gotten over the necessity of a fresh beginning. I'm guessing you haven't either.
God new we wouldn't. In fact, He created us that way. He fashioned the soul of man in its every intricacy and complexity before He ever breathed it into the ashen new body of Adam. We don't have a single soul-need God didn't deliberately initiate for His own purposes. Our souls crave new beginnings. Fresh starts. Calculate with me just how willing our compassionate God was to accommodate.
God Himself came up with the concept of an annual New Year's Day when He ordered creation and gave the sun and moon their instructions (Genesis 1:14) Though some cultures operate on a lunar schedule and others on a solar schedule, we share the original concept of a calendar year that begins with a specific day. Think how much you and I view segments of time in years. . .
God didn't think an annual new start was nearly enough. He who created the human psyche also compartmentalized those hundreds of days into 12 months. Every month we get a new first. But 12 new starts were not enough either. The very first verses of Scripture unfold a seven-day period of time we call a week. Think of how we look forward to the "weekend" and a subsequent new beginning on Sunday. Fifty-two new beginnings a year sounds like plenty, doesn't it? Ah, but not to God. He who configured our needy souls ordained the sun to rise every single morning and set every single evening. A curtain of darkness falls systematically on the scene of every single day, calling it history.
Ever had such a bad day that it seemed beyond redeeming? I had a really rough day last week. The problem wasn't just one thing. It was everything. Every phone call. Every e-mail. Every demand. Yes, even the elevator got huffy with me. I dragged my usually buoyant mood behind me on to the parking garage like a deflated balloon on a tattered string. And then I accidentally shut the car door on it. My husband, Keith, asked me early that evening if the day had gotten any better. I laughed and responded, "Nope. I think this one's just going to have to end, and let me start a new one tomorrow morning."
Sure enough, night fell and so did I. . . I pulled the covers over my head and slept off the exhaustion of the day. The next morning, the sun rose just as God promised it would, and I felt renewed and ready to go at life once again. I don't think I could have waited seven days for another new start. I needed one that would come in only hours. I bet you know what I mean.
The Bible says that God gives us new mercies every morning (Lam 3:23) The first of those mercies is the new morning itself. Here we are, you and I, making a new start together. A new year. Twelve new months. Fifty-two weeks. And 365 glorious days. . . . Once again, and not a moment too soon, the old has passed away. Behold, new things have come.