I love the new year. It feels like a fresh start every time the old calendar comes down and a glossy new one graces the wall. The new year seems to hold so much possibility, so much capacity for positive change, for good things, for blessings from the Lord. The holidays are over, it’s time to get back into our routine and back to “normal” life. It’s time to resolve to do better in some areas and feel grateful for the progress we’ve made in others.
On New Year’s Day this year I read a wonderful passage from Deutoronomy 31 (verse 8). It says, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” This passage gives me hope and peace as I stand here at the start of the year, looking toward the future, wondering what the next months will hold. There may be wonderful gifts or frightful challenges. I don’t know yet. But one thing I can count on is that on this journey, the Lord himself will be my companion and my guide.
I have found that having a progressive disease like cystic fibrosis invites lots of worry. The uncertainties of the future can be so unnerving. I go along feeling fairly peaceful and then an illness knocks me off my feet and shatters any feelings of security. The worries start flooding in. What if I don’t get all the way better? What if I sustain irreversible damage? What if I lose lung function? What if, what if, what if?
I know that worrying is a giant waste of time. After all, it accomplishes nothing productive. It does nothing to ease the pain of the anticipated event if it does occur. And in the meantime it steals away the peace and joy in my heart and replaces contentment with anxiety. Although I know this to be true, I still struggle with it. I suppose it comes from wishing to exert some control over my life, especially in areas where I feel the most vulnerable.
Corrie ten Boom said, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength–carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” When I imagine some difficulty that might befall me, I wonder how I could ever make it through that challenge. What I worry about seems heartbreaking and impossible, and you know what, it is. It is impossible because I haven’t been armed with God’s grace and strength for that challenge yet. When the hard times come, I may have sorrow, but I will also have strength, I will have courage, and I will be given all I need. Then. When I need it. Not now.
So this year I resolve to use today’s strength for today’s challenges and not to waste it on worry. I resolve to push aside the fear and discouragement that creep in when things aren’t going as well as I’d like. Chances are, there will be some hard days in 2015 and some days where my heart is filled with inexpressible joy. The joy and the hardship may even coincide. I don’t know what lies ahead–what smooth or rocky paths my feet will tread this year. But with Jesus as my guide, I can let go of my worries and instead hold tightly to Him.