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Happy New Year! Congratulations on making it through 2020. It was an unpredictable, society-altering year. Yet here we are in 2021. So who or what are you putting your hope in for 2021?

I hear many putting their faith in 2021 itself. I understand this hope. Sometimes, we do have a bad year. So we hope that the turning of the calendar will bring a better year. Yet I can’t see this as a solidly grounded hope. We don’t know what 2021 will bring just like we didn’t know 12 months ago about the impact of Covid-19.

Some of you go into 2021 facing some really tough challenges. You might have lost a loved on near the end of 2020. Now you go into a new year without them and wonder how you will cope. Or you face a tough relational situation. You wonder if it will ever get better. Or your employment is uncertain at best. You wonder if you will have employment throughout the year. Or you have to face some health issue. There’s no more “forget about it over the holidays.” Now it’s time to get the test results or begin the treatment or walk with your loved one through this.

So rather than hope in 2021, look at Psalm 3:3-4. “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.” God is our shield. He will not abandon us no matter what this year brings. He also lifts our head. That’s a beautiful picture. Think of yourself with your head bowed down – maybe with tears because of bad news; maybe with shame because of some poor choice; maybe with exhaustion because of little strength.

But God comes along like a loving Father and gently places His hand underneath your chin. Then he lifts your head until you’re looking into His eyes. You’re suddenly reminded of the One who loves you, walks with you through bad news, forgives for poor choices and gives strength to the weak. Then we realize we are not alone in this thing. We have a loving heavenly Father who is our shield, lifts our head and answers our cries. I pray that you will find your strength, hope and comfort in Him through 2021 and beyond.

“Father God, thank you for a New Year. It is a reminder of a new beginnings and opportunities. A fresh start can invigorate us. Yet we admit our need for you. The shine on a New Year can quickly fade because of some difficult news or development. Please continue to protect us, lift our heads and hear our cries.”