January 01, 2013

New Year's Confidence

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
—Psalm 46:1


Happy New Year! That’s how many of us will greet each other on this first day of a new year. Perhaps you’ve already said that to a family member or friend.

But we need much more than a casual greeting as we stand at the beginning of a new year. We need to know that also in this coming year someone greater than any ruler of any nation is in control—not only of our lives but also of the course of history. Psalm 46 reminds us that in the midst of the many uncertainties in life the God of heaven and earth is in complete control.

The psalmist does not make false promises. He does not guarantee that things will go our way. He does not tell us that this new year will bring peace and prosperity. He does not promise the end of persecution and poverty. He makes clear that “nations are in uproar” and there will be desolation and destruction. Nations will fall, and rulers will come and go. But, come what may, God will be in charge. He will be “our refuge and strength.”

How do we know? One week ago we celebrated the birth of our Lord Jesus, the day on which the Son of God “moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14, The Message). His coming is our guarantee that God will always be our “ever-present help in trouble.”

Lord, our God, thank you for a new year, and thank you for your promise to be “our refuge and strength” because of Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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