If I’m being honest, I really dislike New Year’s. It’s not so much the holiday itself, although the chances of me making it until midnight at this point in life are embarrassingly slim. It’s more about all of the resolution making and planning and looking towards a new year in its entirety that makes it all feel so...well...overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity for a fresh start and the grace and provision of a new day, but when I’m left to my own thoughts of what a new year might bring, fear begins to rear its head and take root in my heart. It sounds silly to say, and I’m thinking how ridiculous it is even as I write it. But fear has always been my pet sin and Satan uses it against me in both unexpected and irrational ways at times. And for reasons I can’t adequately explain here, I just worry about what all a new year might hold.
Bad health. Unexpected grief. A financial disaster. I’m generally not a pessimist in any capacity but 365 days feels like a whole lot of life to stare square in the face and say with confidence, “Let’s do this.”
Instead, I feel the winds of anxiety begin to stir and the dark clouds of doubt move in. I look around at the unsteady world we live in and I look ahead at the unknown and then inevitably, I look down in a bit of discouragement.
And just like that, a storm is brewing in my heart and mind. And as the winds and waves begin to increase and threaten to capsize this already unsteady ship, I am reminded of this:
I know the One who once stood in the face of the fiercest, most frightening storm. I know the One who saw the fear in the eyes of others and yet feared not. I know the One who spoke three simple words to the raging storm and it ceased (Mark 4:35-41).
I know the One who has power over the storm.
Over any storm. Even the one raging in me. And He speaks the same three words to my heart as He spoke to the storm on the sea all those years ago: “Peace. Be still.”
Peace. Quit looking around at what the world has to offer. Look at Me, beloved. See that I am faithful and consistent (Deut. 7:9). See that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). I do not change with the winds of opinion or politics or culture or education (Mal. 3:6).
I am constant.
Be Still. Stop looking ahead at the unknown and trying to figure out what this year or this life will hold. I, alone, hold the future. I know your days (Ps. 139:16). I am the giver of unfailing love and new mercies each morning (Lam. 3:22-23). Who by worrying can even add an hour to his days (Matt. 6:27)? Instead, be thankful and ask Me for what you need. And I’ll give you My peace (Phil. 4:6-7). Trust Me, beloved. I am faithful. In Me you have a hope and a future (Jer. 29:11).
Peace. No more looking down, child. I am the lifter of heads (Ps. 3:3). Lean not on only what you can see and understand. Acknowledge Me and I’ll direct your path for this day. And the next. And the next (Prov. 3:5-6).
So, I don’t have to fear. The future in 2019 and beyond may be unknown but the Sovereign God who exists outside of time has made Himself very known. Through His word and through the person of Jesus Christ. Love in human form. And where there is love, there is no fear, because perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).
And so I think I’ll look into the face of this new year with assurance- remembering both the promises of God and these lines from my all-time favorite hymn:
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future...and life is worth the living just because He lives.”
So welcome 2019.
You’re worth the living.