New Year’s Eve. The cusp of two years. One is about to be left behind. The other stretches out ahead.
Our reaction, as we stand on the crest, can be fear.
The days, weeks, months are blank pages, yet to be filled. Uncharted territory, holding the unknown.
Some days are penciled in with plans, like a wedding or moving house. Other times, we’ll also be delighted by a surprise, like discovering a new baby is due.
Yet, we also know unwanted events will come out of the blue, like an illness or a death, pervading our peace and bring turmoil.
Hitting bumps and potholes in the road are a fact of life.
Sometimes it’s because we bring haunts of the past year. The past is no easy thing to untangle, says Kelly Balarie in her book Fear Fighting, there are so many people and parts and perspectives to it—it can seem completely overwhelming,
We project the past into the future. It spills over into the fresh, untouched year ahead.
So how do we deal with our fear?
We find two nuggets of advice in scripture:
As I sit writing to you this morning, I think about the day ahead of me—it is jam packed full of activities and worries. Will, you, my readers connect with what I’m writing? I worry about that. Then, I need to hurry and get on, there is food to be bought to feed three hungry young adults home from college. I will take my son to see a new dentist. We have moved away from the practice we’ve been to for years. Will the dentist be any good? Then we’re going out to dinner with friends in the evening. How will my son enjoy that with a numb face?
I understand what the verse is getting at. Today is enough.
So if we do what scripture advises, and look at January 1st as just another day, a morning no different from December 31st, the beginning of a new year comes into perspective. It seems manageable. Not so bad after all.
It’s practical wisdom. The world gives similar wisdom. Take notice of the present moment. Live in the present.
Yet, biblical wisdom is not about relying on our own strength, but putting our trust in God.
Ah, so there’s more to it than just being short sighted and looking at the next twenty-four hours. We can look ahead to the future with courage because God has got it under control. More than that, he has plans for us to flourish.
“Don’t worry,” Jesus said, “God cares about even the most insignificant things in the world. You are much more valuable to your heavenly Father.”
In other words, get on with the ordinary activities of life knowing you are in capable and caring hands. Yet, more than that, look forward with excitement and certainty to what is ahead.
So with me, will you walk into the New Year not fearful, but with anticipation seeing it as an adventure to be embraced with your Lord?
Lord, as I look ahead to a New Year there are a lot of unknowns. It makes me afraid because I fear_______________. Help me to learn you are always with me. Teach me not to be anxious about ______________. Reassure me you have a good plan for me this year; that you have a firm grip on my life and you will not let me come to harm. Amen
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