"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
When God spoke these words to his Old Testament people they were still in captivity but he was wanting to assure them that they were going to return home — he gave them hope and a future. Today we are coming to the end of the year. I don't know what kind of year it has been for you. No doubt it had its 'ups and downs', but God does not want us to be haunted by the past; rather he wants us to look ahead, to keep in our mind's eye the beautiful horizon of heaven. Of course we ask God to forgive us the sins we commit and to help us mend broken relationships as well as broken promises. Having done that, we leave them and go into the future with our God as our guide.
As Christian people, we can know with certainty that God's ultimate plans for us are good — better than we can even imagine. One of the lovely promises God gave to his Old Testament people was that the land they were going to was looked after by him: "...the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end." (Deuteronomy 11:12) In the same way he will look after us every day — his plans for us are good, giving us hope and a future. "He who watches over you will not slumber." (Psalm 121:3) He cares for you all of the time. As one of the old writers has said: "Hope can see heaven through the thickest clouds." (Thomas Brooks) So God wants us to keep looking up and onward. May you have a blessed year and go with God all your days.
O Lord, watch over my life both now and for ever. Amen.