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 at this point, can be fear and apprehension.
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 bringing turmoil.
Hitting bumps and potholes in the road are a fact of life. But we can be reassured that God holds us safely in his hands.
Sometimes our uneasiness is because haunts of the past year flow over into the new 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,
Other times, we project the past onto the future. And so our worries spill over into the fresh, untouched year ahead.
So how do we deal with our fear?
We find two nuggets of advice in scripture:
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
It’s wise advice and true that today, one day, has enough worries for you and I to deal with. I understand what the verse is getting at. Today is enough.
The verse also begins with the word “so.” Which can mean “therefore” or “consequently.” And to find out the reason why we shouldn’t worry, we need to look at what is said before this verse. I like what The Message says: “Steep your life in God…You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”
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 our future under his sovereign 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, we can get on with the ordinary activities of today knowing we are in capable and caring hands. Yet, more than that, we can look forward with reassurance whatever is ahead.
So with me, will you walk into the New Year not fearful, but with anticipation of God’s goodness and welcoming how God will care for you?
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