Yet Another Year of Choices
By Barbara Dahlgren
As one year closes and another begins, we can reflect on what’s passed and look forward to what lies ahead. A year gone by is usually filled with good and bad. We can learn from the bad and move on. But let’s not forget to think about the good things that happened. In fact, the Bible encourages us to think about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable… If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”
How can we be sure our next year will be better than the last? We can’t – not really. But we can be sure that we can make it through if we stay focused.
Proverbs 4:25-27 (NIV) tells us, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” To go one step further, we need to be looking to God. Only He has the power to save us. (Isaiah 45:22) We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2) We lose power, hope, and purpose when we don’t focus on the right things.
We will all face turmoil and trials in life. However, we can’t afford to let problems block our focus. Think of this biblical example from 2 Chronicles 20…
Jehoshaphat’s kingdom of Judah was being threatened by the armies of many nations like Ammon and Moab who joined together to annihilate Judah. These huge armies were strong and surrounded Judah. There seemed to be no chance of survival. So people from every town came together to seek help from the Lord.
The men, their wives, and children stood in the courtyard of the temple and Jehoshaphat prayed a heartfelt prayer extolling God’s greatness and acknowledging Judah’s lack of power to withstand the inevitable attack. It ended with, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
God told the people not to be afraid or discouraged. He told them to face the enemy and stand firm. They would not have to fight this battle because it was the Lord’s. The people fell down in worship to God.
Early the next morning, Jehoshaphat encouraged the people to have faith in the Lord. As they headed off to battle, he appointed men to lead the way by singing and praising God. “Give thanks to the Lord. His love endures forever.” As they sang, a miraculous thing happened. These armies began to attack one another instead of Judah. By the time Judah got to the battleground, they saw only the dead bodies of their enemies.
Consider this… When life gets overwhelming, hard decisions need to be made, or the enemy is attacking, stay focused. Keep your eyes on Jesus and pray, “Lord, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on you.” Read Scriptures. Thank God for what He’s already done in your life. Sing praises. Pray, pray, pray: “Lord, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You.”
With Jesus in our lives, we are never alone or forsaken. (Hebrews 13:5-6) I don’t know what this next year will hold for us, but I do know we can face anything if we keep our eyes on Jesus.
One final thought… May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions!