Encouragement for a New Year
by Arthur Schoonveld
Scripture Reading — Joshua 1:1-9
"Do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
On the first day of a new year many of us wish each other a "Happy New Year!" But as we begin a new year, we need more than a hopeful greeting from the people around us. We need to listen to what God told Joshua about 3,400 years ago.
As Joshua was about to lead God's people into the promised land, he had reason to be afraid. He had an enormous task ahead of him, and he was well aware of the dangers that he and the people would soon be facing.
He needed God's encouragement.
A new year brings lots of questions: Will our health hold? Will our marriage last? Will I be able to hang on to my job? Will I get into the right school? Will I live to see the end of this year? Will the economy improve? Will there be a terrorist attack or some natural disaster that takes me or my loved ones?
The Creator of the universe comes to us and says, "Don't be afraid; don't be discouraged." What happens in this coming year is not left to chance. God is in charge, and he promises to stay close: "The LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Many years later, the Lord Jesus made the same promise when he said, "I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20). That's the reason we can wish each other a "Happy New Year!"
Father in heaven, thank you for the gift of a new year and for your promise to stay with us. We ask for your guidance and wisdom each day. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.