Once again a new year brings thoughts of joy and wonderful days ahead as plans are made and their fulfillment anticipated. On the other hand, there is always the possibility that the year ahead will involve hurt, sadness, and loss in some area of life. For the believer who has placed their faith in the saving work of Christ on the Cross, there is the assurance and absolute confidence that whatever God allows to come into one’s life, He has sifted those events and circumstances through His love and grace. The unknown need not be that which brings fear, but rather an inner peace knowing that God has a perfect plan for each Christian, that He numbers our days and He will glorify Himself through it all.

Along with the Apostle Paul, the believer who has a daily walk with the Lord can say … “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28 NASB). That love for God only comes from knowing Him through His Word. It is His Word that reveals His faithfulness and love for those who are His by faith in Christ. The situations and circumstances that come in life become opportunities for the believer to experience God’s blessings and have great appreciation for His provision. In pleasant or adverse conditions, there can be perfect inner peace knowing that … “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9 NASB).

Yet, at times, Christians often forget to apply the promises that He has given us. Worry and weariness of mind and body easily surface when the matter is not committed to the Lord. Therefore, when fear and uncertainty arise in the soul, the believer has the opportunity to claim God’s promises. In Scripture, the admonition “do not be afraid” is given over two hundred times. Abraham was reminded ... "Do not be afraid Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward (“Gen 15:1b NIV). That same encouragement was given to Jacob, Isaac, Moses, David and the prophets. The answer to fear is always the same … “When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Ps 56:3 NIV).

The psalmist was looking past the adversity and placing his focus on the One who had a solution. Therefore … “In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me” (Ps 56:4 NIV)? Writing to the churches in Rome, Paul reached a similar conclusion when facing hardship … “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword” (Rom 8:31-35 NIV)?

The writer to the Hebrews gave stern warning of failing to trust the Lord and obtain rest for the soul … “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith” (Heb 4:1-2 NIV). A hymn lyricist wrote … “Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand, but I know Who holds tomorrow and I know He holds my hand.”

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