...to be filled with anxiety:
Will I do everything I want to do this year?
Will I make the right choices?
Will everyone in my family be healthy?
Will my finances be ok?
Will this be the year I find my future spouse?
Will my kids do well in school?
Will I be able to pay off my student loans?
Will I pass the next semester in school?
Will my team win the Super Bowl?
Will I be happy?
Will 2014 be a success or an epic failure?
Standing on the "before" side of 2014 can be daunting. There are so many "What will be's?" and "How will that happen's?" that it's tough to be courageous going into the New Year.
I'm sure it was tough for the disciples to be courageous too. Jesus had just left them behind. He had given them a daunting task to do. They were to tell others the message of the Gospel by travelling to lands they had not been and speaking to people who might not be receptive to what they had to say. On top of that, their enemies were still plotting against them!
But I don't know if the anxiety was there.
Jesus had left a promise: "Surely, I am with you always to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:21)
This wasn't an empty, feel good promise that you might hear in a movie like The Notebook. This was real. Jesus had proven that. When they were on a lake, he had proven that he could cross water to get to them. When they were in the middle of a storm, he had proven that he could calm it. Even death could not stop him from being with them! He had returned from the very grave that prevents all human beings from being with one another in order to tell them: "I am with you!"
The same promise is true for you.
He is with you.
Jesus will be offering words of comfort at the ATM as you see your bank account dwindle. He will set beside you as you interview for a new job. He will be behind you as you drop your kids off for school. He will guide you as you search Christian Mingle. He will empower you as you invite your friend to church. He will hold your hand as you wait for test results at the walk-in clinic.
In short, Jesus will never leave you. Surely, He will be with you always.
That means you won't be alone. No matter what comes and no matter what happens, you will be facing the upcoming events of 2014 with a friend right there with you. God beside you. The one who loved you enough to die for you will be close by.
That truth changes the start of 2014. It's not time to be scared; it's time to find comfort! To look with excitement at what God has planned. Time to confidently live knowing that your Lord will be with you...
...Always. To the very end of 2014.