2021: A Year of Hope

Sunday 3 January 2021


Happy New Year! I don't think there's ever been a year the world has been more excited for than 2021. To say 2020 was a hard year would be an understatement. Many people suffered from or lost loved ones to COVID-19, while others experienced job loss and other struggles. While I am thankful that Coronavirus never got out of control here in the Cayman Islands, 2020 brought its own devastating losses for my family. In April, just before Easter, my grandmother passed away unexpectedly. And just one month later, my aunt was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. She passed away in November, only six months after her diagnosis. She was a special lady, a retired educator, the woman who inspired me to become a teacher. We had a close bond, and that made losing her even more heartbreaking.

As difficult as it was to go through the holidays without my aunt and grandmother, it was also a relief to come to the end of 2020. And judging by the many social media posts I saw, I wasn't the only one who felt that way. After all, a new year always seems to be filled with hope and promise. But the truth is, things don't magically change when the clock strikes midnight and we enter a new year. Despite our wishful thinking, we really have no guarantee that 2021 is going to be any better than 2020. 

If there's anything I've learned in 2020, it's that's true hope is not a new year or an improved outcome. Hope is a Person. Hope is Jesus. Because of Jesus Christ, I have a living hope (1 Peter 1:3), a hope that lasts when the temporary things and circumstances fade away. It's a hope based on the person and work of Christ, which has secured for me a glorious future with Him (vv. 3-5). It's a hope that is for both now and the future. There's a quote I love that says, "Our hope is not in the new year, but in the One who makes all things new." One day, Jesus will return to do just that (Revelation 21:5).

Until then, we wait. 2020 involved a lot of waiting, and recently, I was reminded of a group of people in Scripture who were also waiting. The book of Isaiah was written to the nation of Israel as they were waiting for the promised Messiah to come. During that period, they grew weary of waiting and began to put their hope in idols instead of the Lord (Isaiah 40:18-20). (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?) It's interesting that qavah, the Hebrew word for "wait," also means "hope." When you think about it, waiting and hope are inextricably linked. As we wait, we place our hope in something or someone. And as the people of Israel found out, misplaced hope always leads to disappointment.

In Isaiah 40:28-31, God graciously reminds Israel of where their true hope lies and gives them an amazing promise. He tells them that those who hope in and wait for Him will gain new strength (v. 31). A few chapters later, He declares, "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland" (43:19). Because God is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and sovereign (40:28), He is worth waiting for. He is the God who makes a way, and those who hope in Him will never be disappointed (Isaiah 49:23). 

Although these truths were originally given to the nation of Israel, they are also for believers today. In fact, the promises in Isaiah find their ultimate fulfillment in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). Instead of hinging our hopes on a new year, let's choose to put our hope in the One who makes all things new - the same God who provides new strength as we wait for Him. 

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace 
as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

- Romans 15:13

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