” Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
— Joshua 1:9
On the first day of a new year, many of us wish each other a “Happy New Year!” But as we begin a new year, we need more than a hopeful greeting from the people around us. We need to listen to what God told Joshua about 3,400 years ago. As Joshua was about to lead God’s people into the promised land, he had reason to be afraid. He had an enormous task ahead of him, and he was well aware of the dangers that he and the people would soon be facing. He needed God’s encouragement.
A new year brings lots of questions. The foremost on everyone’s mind is: Will this year be better than 2020? Will we emerge as a healthier society and get control over the pandemic? Will we be able to return to “normal” life? Will I find love this year? Many are also wondering if they will be able to hang on to their job or secure a new one? Will the economy improve and get stronger as we get the pandemic under control? Will we be able to heal as a nation?
God tells us not to be afraid of what is to come and tells us not to become discouraged. What happens in 2021 is not left to chance. God is in charge, and he promises to stay close: “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Many years later, the Lord Jesus made the same promise when he said in Matthew 28:20, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” That’s the reason we can wish each other a “Happy New Year!” God will be with us and carry us through these difficult times.