Written by Patrick Lacombe
When our son, who turned 50 last June, was a little boy, he heard folks greeting each other as the New Year approached. He joined in the greeting, but did not quite get the words right. We had to laugh when we heard him going around saying to people: “Happy New You!”
The words may not have been correct, but the more we thought about it, the more we came to realize that wishing folks a “New You,” wasn’t such a bad idea.
The beginning of a new year brings to mind a passage found in the Book of Joshua, chapter 3. After the forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites were on the verge of crossing the Jordan River and entering the Promised Land. Orders were given: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it.” The officers explained: “Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before” (Josh. 3:3-4I).
The New Year is a new territory for each of us. We have not been there before. There will be some similarity to the way, as it unfolds from day to day, week to week, and month to month; but it will not be the same. The New Year will have its own unique terrain.
Some of it may be as a smooth path, but there will doubtless be some difficult and even treacherous trails to trek. There will perhaps be mountain peak experiences which will exhilarate us. There may be some descents into the depths of darkness bordering despair.
We will make our plans and chart our courses for the New Year, but our log may reveal at the end a journey far from that intended as we embark. Why? Because we “have never been this way before.”
What can we do to insure our safe passage into and through this uncharted territory? M. Louise Haskins, in “The Gate of the Year” gives a valid answer:
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
‘Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!’
And he replied:
‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand if God.
That shall be to you better than a light and safer than a known way.’
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
What is safer than a known way? Taking the course that God would have us take. The Israelites were to move out of their position and follow the Ark of the Covenant. “Then you will know which way to go.”
Better than knowing the territory is knowing the One who knows how to handle the territory. Jesus said of Himself: “I AM THE WAY” (John 14:6). The Apostle Peter wrote: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving an example, that you should follow in His steps: *1 Pet. 2:21).
If your journey through the New Year is with Jesus, and you are His, He will not only help you find the way, but He will enable you to deal with whatever challenges you encounter. As the Apostle Paul said, commenting on his own ups and down in life: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. . . . I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:11,13)
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” – Josh. 3:5.