New every morning, and every new year

Bishop’s Message

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

When I was a teenager, I sang both the hymn “How Great Thou Art” and the chorus “The Steadfast Love of the Lord” that are based on the Bible verse above. I sang, giving thanks for the blessings God had showered on me. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

But nowadays I think more about the terrors and tragedies of this world when I sing: a world where children are kidnapped, and families destroyed by bullets, bombs, famines and floods. This is not because I have become more pessimistic in outlook, but because I now realise that this was the terrible and troubling context out of which this faith-full and hope-filled Bible verse in Lamentations 3:22 was birthed. Feel the anguish conveyed in verses leading up to verse 22.

Verses 2-3: (God) has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long.

Verses 17-18: My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD.”

Yet from such a context where all hope in God had perished comes the determination in verses 21-23 to revive and retain fresh hope in God: “No, I will (still) hope in God. His mercies are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.”

Today we too live in a time of great darkness and despair. Every new day—every new year—seems only to exacerbate the hopelessness of any positive change in the future. It is in such horrible and hopeless times that we also need the example of Lamentations 3:21-23 to revive and retain hope in God.

Yet will I still hope in God. His mercies are new every morning—and every new year. Great is his faithfulness.

Whatever the terrors which 2024 may bring, may God grant us the rugged faith to revive and retain hope in the mercies and faithfulness of God which are new every morning and every year.

Bishop Dr Gordon Wong was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2020.
He served as President of the Trinity Annual Conference from 2012-2020.