A Strong and Courageous New Year

This year has been one filled with change and challenge for our family—as it has been for many of you, I’m sure.  This time last year, we would have never imagined all that God had in store for us;  in fact, I have found that I severely under-estimate God on a regular basis, even when I let my “imagination and dreams run wild.”  This  has been a year of new opportunities, and we have eagerly anticipated what God had around the next bend.  There have also been great challenges that we would have never imagined as we adjust to the many new realities that have come with our new opportunities.

There have been seasons of great joy this year as well as moments of discouragement. (Isn’t God good to give us seasons of joy and generally only moments of discouragement?)  During one such discouraging moment recently, when I was lamenting some of the “things” I felt I had given up over the past year and was fretting over some things I knew lay ahead, God graciously pointed out to me something He said to Joshua when the time came for him to take Moses’ place and when he knew that great opportunities and challenges lay just ahead of him.  I can imagine an exchange Joshua had with Moses around the time of Moses’ death—“These people are impossible!  God does great things for them, yet in the first sign of trouble, they turn on Him!  AND, if they had just listened to me in the first place, we would have been in the promised land for the last 40 years!”  (Important note:  there is NO indication that the conversation I just mentioned took place.  I am sure that I am much more carnal than Joshua was!!)  But God, in His incredible grace and lovingkindness gave this promise in Deuteronomy 31:7-8,

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them: and you shall put them in possession of it.  It Is the LORD Who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.”

I don’t know what God has been preparing you for this past year—or what He will call upon you to do in the coming year.  You may be dreading a leadership role, a confrontation, a step of faith or something else you know God wants you to do—but thanks be to God, I DO know that He will go before you (and me!) He will be with us. He will never fail us. He will never forsake us.  Why should we be dismayed?  Thank God!  He loves us enough to carry us through our hard times, prepare us for service, and make sure He gives us the grace to carry through if we look to Him!

I am now more excited than ever about what this coming year holds, for I know that I won’t have to tread alone.  My God—the God of the Ages!!—will be with me!  How could I fear?

May God encourage your heart as you look ahead at the new year.  May God strengthen your resolve as you serve Him.  May God use each of our families in great ways to display His love and grace to all those who see us.