Some of you may be entering it with joy and excitement. You’ve been chomping at the bit to crack open that new planner in order to organize your life.
Some of you have been waiting for the new year to start that new book or Bible study.
Others of you have begun taking control of your health by throwing out the junk and sweating it up at the gym.
But there may be others of you who are entering this year a bit more hesitantly. The past year may have had a number of valleys that you have had to travel through. You may feel that the past year was a bit chaotic and January 1st did not look much different from December 31st.
I have experienced both excitement and weariness at the beginning of a new year. I have been full of energy, with lists in hand, ready to organize my home and my life and I have had years where I drug myself from one year into the next a bit haggered and without motivation.
Here is something that has been an encouragement to me no matter how I feel.
You never enter a new year alone.
God is with you. He is around you and before you. He is there to guide you and protect you. He is your strength and your wisdom.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Your God is around you.
I don’t mean that He is everywhere in some arbitrary sense, but He is all around you in a very personal way. His mighty arms surround you and you are safe.
You have read the verse that says “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Ps. 118:6). Man can actually do a lot of harm to us even to the point of taking our life, but even in this we are safe because no one can take away our salvation. Our souls are kept safe!
This life may seem long, but in comparison to eternity it is but a mist that disappears quickly. Our time spent with our Saviour in His kingdom is something no one can take away from you. So no matter what you face this year, you are safely surrounded by the loving arms of God.
Your God is next to you.
Too often we think we have all the answers when really we have no clue what we are doing. We don’t understand the heinousness of sin, the way to fight temptations, how to love others and the joy found in a righteous life.
We need guidance and our Lord is right next to us to guide us through this life. In prayer we can reach out to Him anytime, anywhere and ask for help. The fact that God is next to you means that He cares. He cares because, not only are you created in His image and have value, but you were recreated through the blood of Jesus and now have infinite value.
Your God is behind you.
No matter how strong you are you are not strong enough to face all that is coming at you this year.
You may succeed in big ways and immediately the temptation towards pride will be there. On the other hand you may experience hardships and loss this year. There will be obstacles that will make you trip and hurdles you have to jump over that will leave you flat on your face.
Both in success and in failure the Lord is with you every step of the way and He will hold you up when you are bone weary. The knowledge of His presence will be your motivation to continue on.
In weakness — the Lord strengthens them;
in poverty — the Lord supplies their needs;
in sickness — the Lord sustains them; and
in death — the Lord gives them the final victory!
James Smith (1802—1862)
Go into this new year with joy because, no matter what, if your faith is in Christ, you have something that can never be taken from you. The God who made you will be with you at all times because God surrounds His people and you are one of them.