From Where I Stand: A Fresh Start

January 21, 2021 | Church | Jay Wintermeyer

Our nation watched yesterday as Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States of America. Joining him is Kamala Harris – the first female vice president and a woman of color.

In the wake of the inauguration, I witnessed friends and strangers uttering an enormous collective sigh of relief. Whether reading social media posts or visiting with people in line at the store, I see people on both sides of the aisle, worn out by everything we've faced in 2020, including politics. We're tired.

President Biden even talked about this in his inaugural address: “Let’s start afresh, all of us.”

Biden’s appeal for a new beginning echoes back to Warren G. Harding’s 1920 campaign slogan: “Return to normalcy.” A century ago, that message resonated with Americans because we had just come through turbulent times — many of which echo our present-day turmoil.

We had a war — World War I — that cost more than 116,000 U.S. lives. We suffered a pandemic — the influenza outbreak of 1918 — that killed 675,000 more Americans. We experienced domestic terrorism — a Wall Street bombing killed some 40 people. We endured political strife — a “red scare” followed by thousands of arrests and hundreds of deportations of alleged radicals.

Today there seems to be a similar desire on the part of most Americans to turn the page on 2020's collective turmoil and tragedy. We are all exhausted and ready for a new beginning. 

Reflecting on our collective desire to start fresh, the words of Isaiah seem especially meaningful today: “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland” (Is. 43:19, NLT).

Isaiah tells us God is in the business of new beginnings. Not only does He make a path through the impossible, He’s already started. He’s making a way before us. His path creates life where nothing but death existed before — life-giving rivers in the desert of our lives. 

Right now our nation and world face a bleak outlook, but God is in the business of restoration and renewal. It may not feel like there’s a way forward, but He has promised us a fresh start. With God, each morning is a chance to begin anew. 

Don’t believe me? Consider these words from the prophet Jeremiah: “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lam. 3:22–23, NLT).