By Mary Swain, Dayspring Church

Happy New Year everyone!

It’s that time of year where many people make resolutions, reflecting back on the previous year and looking forward to the year ahead.

I know that for many, looking back on 2023 will be difficult, and it may be even more difficult to look forward to 2024. Maybe the year didn’t quite go as expected. Maybe there were disappointments or dreams that were crushed. Maybe there are things you are still waiting for that you hoped would have happened by now.

Are you running a bit low on hope? Afraid to believe and cautious to dream again for fear of disappointment?

Given the circumstances, maybe it seems a bit pointless to try and hope again. However, I know that the hope we have as Christians is not just wishful thinking. Positivity and optimism might work for a time, but true hope can remain in any circumstance.

Psalm 25:3 says: ‘No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame.’ It is not foolish or thoughtless to have hope. Jesus is victorious and there is nothing that can stop His kingdom from coming. Hope that is rooted in Him, no matter how small, cannot be squashed!

There’s a temptation to think that we shouldn’t be too hopeful because we will just get let down or disappointed. That could be the case if we put our hope in organisations or leaders or movements because none of us are perfect.

But when we hope in Jesus, our hope is sure. The glimpse we have of His kingdom is only a tiny taste. He will surpass all our hopes and dreams for all of eternity.

No matter how much bad news I hear or how many things go wrong, I am determined that I will always hope in the Lord. He is the only constant. He is our rock. I know that He is a God of breakthrough, even if I don’t see it right now.

I believe this year is a year for renewed hope. I believe he will give us the strength to trust, to remain, and to keep going if we stay close to Him. I believe He will refresh us with hope when we refresh ourselves in Him.

This is my prayer for you this year: ‘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)