We have come to the beginning of another year, another reminder that life is a cycle of beginnings and endings, of fresh starts, of new perspectives, opportunities, hopes, and triumphs. This is not to say that life is all easy, simple, and pleasant! Life is full of difficulty; or in the words of Job, man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upwards.
But the Scriptures today remind us in a fresh way that the children of God are not, and must not be, fatalistic in their outlook concerning the circumstances of life. We are called to a fresh hope, and a fresh faith, in a good God. James particularly points out the power of effectual, fervent prayer to a loving and gracious God who sincerely desires to answer our prayers.