Another year has gone by, another 365 days that I am thankful for. I always like to look back, remember all the blessings, and acknowledge God’s faithfulness. God has been so good. However, I can also remember the fast-paced, overwhelming, and exhausting days. The negative news, the rising cost of living, and all the uncertainties definitely didn’t help, and I remember feeling burnt out at times. You probably can relate since feeling burnt-out, anxious, down, and even hopeless is very common nowadays. These are all real emotions, but I am so thankful that the LORD is more real and that He is greater than anything we face in this world.
Jesus said in John 16:33, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.” Isn’t it awesome to know that the One who created us knows what we are going through? He doesn’t minimize it or negate it. He Himself experienced many trials and sorrows. He was angered when He saw that people had turned His Father’s house into a marketplace. He was frustrated when many followed Him only to be fed physically and were not interested in the spiritual food He was offering. He wept at the tomb of His friend Lazarus. He was disappointed when His closest friends didn’t stay up to pray with Him in His time of need. He was in anguish, knowing that the crucifixion was ahead of Him. He was brokenhearted when Judas betrayed Him. He felt rejected when Peter denied Him three times and abandoned and lonely on the cross when most of His disciples were nowhere to be found. Jesus, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NLT).
In this stressful life with plenty of bad news, we have the Good News. Jesus, by dying on the cross, redeemed us from our sins and broke the shackles of fear, desperation, and hopelessness, and the moment we received Him as our LORD and Savior, He made our heart His home. The God of all creation, the Light of the world, is doing life with us. We are not left in the dark.
I have heard a pastor say that there are about 365 “Do not be afraid” or “Fear not” statements in the Bible. This is our Father’s way of encouraging us daily through His Word.
As you face the new year, the uncertainties, and everything that is ahead of you, know that “The LORD himself goes before you, and He will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. So, do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV). But as 1 Thessalonians 5:8 says, “Let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of salvation,” live confidently knowing that God is with us every step of the way.
It says in Isaiah 40:31, “Those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
This year, resolve to trust in Him fully, let go of worry, and abide in Him and His Word daily “so that His joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11, ESV).