How should we view the year that was-a year that brought more debt domestically, more retreat internationally, and more terror for children in the womb?
Chapter 8 of Jeremiah tells us of two wrong ways to react. One is to say, "'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace." False optimism keeps us from seeking the healing we need. The other wrong way is to say, "The Lord our God has doomed us to perish." Fatalism keeps us from asking for mercy and changing our course.
The pretty good news is throughout the Old Testament: When people turn away from either false hope or fatalism and turn to God, He delivers them. Psalms repeatedly offer a joyful refrain: "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever."
That news is only pretty good, though, because when we become aware of the magnitude of our sins, it's hard to figure how a righteous God can simply ignore them. Don't we need a purgatory of some kind to wipe the slate clean?
The totally good news is in chapter 5 of Romans: "Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
The good news is no guarantee of ease, but a statement that even bad news can bring benefits: "We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope." The good news is that our hope is not in vain, for God did what none of us would or could do: "God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."