I love a new year — a chance to do things differently, to live differently. A new year is an opportunity to make changes to my health, family, career, and relationships. It’s a new start for all of us. That’s why we make resolutions, start diets, and join the gym. We want this year to look better than the last.
As Jesus followers, however, we don’t have to wait for January to find a fresh start.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
—Lamentations 3:22 – 23, NKJV
This morning, when the sun came up, you woke up to new mercies. A new day. Regardless of how badly you blew it yesterday, when you gossiped at work, or yelled at the kids, or ate that entire half-gallon of Blue Bell Rocky Mountain Road Ice Cream. Today you received a clean slate and second chance. You received new mercies.
Even better? You’ll wake up to the same tomorrow. Like manna served up to the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 16), God served up enough mercy to satisfy our sin-starved souls — day after day. That’s the overwhelming, overcoming downpour of God’s grace.
It’s radical. Crazy. Inexplicable. And utterly undeserved. It makes me want to dance and eat ice cream. And maybe even offer mercy in return?
Not so fast. While I enjoy an endless supply of mercy, I’ve been known to be stingy in dishing it out.
Our friendship had spanned more than a decade. We’d served side-by-side in ministry, shared family gatherings, and exchanged sacred pieces of our stories and lives. But, after a series of difficult and complex circumstances, our friendship eroded. Almost overnight, I lost a dear friend, and there was nothing I could do about it. Her rejection left me with a deep wound. For years after, I carried it around with me like an open sore.
It took a personal health crisis to force me to see the truth. My valid wound had morphed into something sinister—unforgiveness. Only with my physical health in jeopardy did the foolishness of my unforgiveness come into full focus. Her behavior toward me hurt. It wasn’t fair. Yes, my refusal to offer mercy was far more dangerous to my health and life. I’d allowed it to steal my peace for far too long. Finally, with surgery looming, I picked up the phone and said, “I’m sorry.” I was sorry for the years of hurt I’d clung to, and sorry for my stinginess with mercy.
It’s a new year of new mercies — for you and for me.
For the next 365 days, God will greet each new morning with a downpour of grace, more than you and I could ask for or deserve.
So perhaps our greatest resolve isn’t worked out in a new diet or gym membership. Instead, the life we’re looking for begins when we give from what we’ve already been given: A downpour of mercy without fail, without limit, offered each morning for the wounds of the day before.