January 15, 2019
At the start of 2018, I had already dreamed of how I wanted my year to be. I wanted a year full of breakthroughs! Now that 2019 has come, I look back and start to think, “Where did all those dreams go?”
This is usually where my annual worries and anxieties come from. Broken dreams, unmet expectations, and seemingly unanswered prayers. I start to worry that this year will be a lot worse than the last.
No matter how much I try to remember not to worry, most of the time, I still end up worrying. Yet every year I am greatly reminded of how forgetful I am and how faithful God is.
Here are three things I learned (and keep on re-learning) that calm my worries:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us . . .
In 2018, certain things happened—to me, to my family, and to the ministry—all at the same time, which led me to isolate myself.
I felt like no one was there to console me, so I tried to hide at home. But God reminded me that I was not alone, through different people.
I was reminded when I had to drag myself to conversations that I dreaded.
I was reminded when a couple from church took me out for my birthday. They had been praying hard for a baby for years, and yet they served gladly even while waiting.
I was reminded through a conversation over coffee with someone I had discipled. He had fought hard for his calling, and now taught me about things he had learned in life.
I was reminded during the wake of a student’s mom. Surely it was a difficult time for the family, yet I saw peace in the eyes of the child.
I was reminded when my Victory group met and I heard their stories of faith in the midst of challenges at school.
These people and encounters reminded me that there are indeed great clouds of witnesses. The verse itself may mean the Old Testament heroes of faith, but we are also surrounded by living heroes of faith who have witnessed God’s faithfulness in the middle of trials.
In hope [Abraham] believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.”
Abraham, who had been wanting a son but was too old to have one, faced tomorrow with faith and hope because he knew the One who gave the promise.
Imagine Abraham starting each year thinking, “God, will this be the year?”
Then ending the year with, “Maybe next year.”
If he had given up the year before, would he have enjoyed, finally, the coming of Isaac?
Many people give up because of lack of hope. If not for hope, I would have given up.
But there is hope for our 2019, not because we are desperate to believe in something indefinite, but because there are so many good reasons to hope.
A little girl in church was once just a hope to a married couple who couldn’t conceive. She is now four years old.
A family was broken when the father left, but after laboring in prayer, they are now serving the church as a complete family.
There are so many stories of people filled with hope who did not give up. My prayer is that you do not give up today. You may be just a day away from your breakthrough.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
One of my greatest worries every year is that I’ll make mistakes—mistakes that may even be worse than last year’s blunders.
Then I think back to a conversation I had with a former boss.
“Are you sure you’re resigning?”
“Yes, ma’am. But I’m scared that I may be mistaken.”
“Are you doing this out of faith?”
“Then be secure that God is faithful and sovereign. He will make things work for your good, according to His purpose.”
There is no need to fear what 2019 holds because the unknown tomorrow becomes less scary when we have a known God.
And knowing God is crucial. Worry and anxiety become underwhelming because we know Who is in control.
And you won’t be reminded that He is in control if you do not become intimate with Him.
So choose to be reminded again and again through His word.
1. Are you worried about 2019? What gives you worries and anxieties? And what makes you keep hoping?
2. Being alone makes our worries overwhelming. Who are the people you can talk to about your worries?
3. Is God so personal to you that you can trust Him with your 2019? What is one thing you can do today to grow in your relationship with God?