New Year: An opportunity to start over

Published 2:41 am Saturday, January 5, 2019

Just when I’d finally gotten used to writing 2018, it’s time to start over with 2019.  I can’t believe how fast last year went by.  Now I can understand, all too well, why folks say the older you get the faster time flies.

There’s something I look forward to when a new year begins and that’s an opportunity to start over.  It reminds me of the words of Anne of Green Gables, “Every day is a new day with no mistakes in it.”

Thomas Edison experienced an opportunity to start over.  One cold December night, while working in his factory in West Orange, N.J., a fire started.  Though the inventor thought his concrete and steel building was fireproof, Edison watched as flames from the roof lit up the dark sky.

His 24-year-old son, Charles, searched frantically for his father and found him standing nearby watching the great inventor’s project of turning his dreams into reality go up in smoke that frigid evening in 1914.

Charles’ heart ached for his 67-year-old father.  Surprisingly, when Edison saw his son, he asked him to find his mother and bring her to the sight because “she’ll never see anything like this as long as she lives.”

The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins of his factory and said, “There’s value in disaster.  All our mistakes are burned up.  Thank God, we can start anew.”

What a positive perspective!  The Apostle Paul, who experienced his share of ups and downs, put it this way, “Therefore we do not lose heart (or give up).  Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at things which are seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16 – 18).

Someone has made the statement, “A key truth of the Christian religion is that our hope lies in an unseen future rather than a wretched past.”  It’s never too late for a new beginning.  One of my favorite promises in the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (NKJ).

Corrie ten Boom, a Holocaust survivor, once said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”  As one hymn writer penned, “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand.  But I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.

I don’t worry o’er the future for I know what Jesus said, and today I’ll walk beside Him for He knows what lies ahead.”

Jan White is an national award-winning religion columnist. She can be reached at