“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old” (Isaiah 43:18, KJV).

This is a terrific Scripture to recall as we start a new year.  You know, it’s easy to get bogged down over past failures and letdowns.  We all experience times when dreams die, hopes fade or we let ourselves down (or others do).  The fact is that each life is littered with a series of missteps and misfortunes, but the key to victory is how we react to these situations.

Isaiah is reminding us here that we need to quickly forget the things of the past.  I realize that this is easier said than done sometimes, but because we have the God of all healing and all confidence in our lives, it is possible.

Isaiah has a unique perspective here.  He was a man of God and also a man that God infused with a miraculous ability to look into what would be forthcoming many years down the road.  The Liberty Bible Commentary tells us that it was through a special godly communion that Isaiah “addressed himself to his own times as he brought God’s direction to the kings of Judah and also a man seeing far into the future of God’s plans for His people.”

So Isaiah, like all biblical writers, was infused with God’s boundless knowledge.  We can trust the words of this prophet so that when he says we can disregard the things of old, we truly can.  But Isaiah has more great words for us.

In the next verse (19), he writes, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?  I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.”

In a context for today, verse 18 is essentially talking about yesterday.  But verse 19 is our encouragement for today!  This God that we serve can cause rivers to flow in deserts and can overlay paths in the desert.  He can light any path, no matter how dark it may seem.  He promises that His Word is actually a light for our path (Psalm 119:109) that is always there.

No matter what you are going through today, no matter how discouraged you may be about this new year, God is there and He cares.  He is the way of salvation, the way of all righteousness and the way of all healing.

Many years ago, the great Canadian pastor A.B. Simpson (1843-1919) said this: “Let us but feel that He has His heart set upon us, that He is watching us from those heavens with tender interest, that He is following us day by day as a mother follows her babe in his first attempt to walk alone, that He has set His love upon us and, in spite of ourselves, is working out for us His higher will and blessing as far as we will let Him — and then nothing can discourage us.”

Let’s close with another reassuring verse, Ephesians 2:4-5, which reads: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).”  In this new year, never forget the riches of Christ’s love for you and remember always that because of His salvation, we will one day live with Him where trials and troubles will long be forgotten.

Happy New Year to you, my friends.