COVER STORY – NEW YEAR
“I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
As you read this article it is likely that you will soon be stepping over the threshold of the old year into the new. Questions that may be on your mind at this time are, “Will 2021 be a prosperous one for me? Will it be a year in which I enjoy good health? How will it go for me financially? Will the stock market be a ‘rising bull’ or ‘declining bear?’ ” and other similar questions. Of course, there’s no crystal ball you can gaze into to see the events of the coming year. But what comfort is yours as a Christian, knowing (from the promises God has given you in His Word) that your future will be richly blessed in the year 2021 and beyond!
What promises, you ask? They are too numerous to mention them all in this brief article, but permit me to share a few. Your Savior-God has given you the promise, for example, to keep you from danger and shield you from harm (Psalm 91). He’s given you the assurance that He will make every unpleasant happening that occurs in your life serve for your ultimate good (Romans 8:28). If it should be that He calls you to pass through a painful trial in year 2021, He will supply you with the strength you need to bear it (Isaiah 41:10). As you give top priority to the all-important matters of your soul (things like hearing His Word, reading your Bible, receiving His Supper, training up your children in His Good Shepherd paths), He will amply provide for your bodily needs, too, so that you may lay aside every worry (Matthew 6:25-33).
At the top of the list of blessings Jesus promises to shower on you in the coming year are the ones that pertain to your everlasting happiness. He will protect you from the unseen spiritual foes who lurk all around in the godless world (Satan and his minions), who want to hurt and destroy your faith. He will provide this protection for you through the pieces of spiritual armor He has supplied for your daily use (Ephesians 6:10-17). When in weakness you fall before the temptations of Satan, He promises to remove your transgressions from you as far as east is from west (Psalm 103:7-11). As often as you come before His throne of mercy with a broken and contrite heart, He will apply to your soul the soothing balm of His forgiveness (Psalm 130:3-4).
Will 2021 be the last year you spend on this earth? If so, you have His promise to usher you into glory at His side (Psalm 16:11). If it’s the year He has in mind to bring down the final curtain on human history and return in glory as Judge of the living and the dead, He will grant you a happy reunion with all the saints who’ve gone on before, who anchored their hopes in their Savior, to live with them and Him, your beloved Savior, forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).
Whatever the future holds, know that the Lord is going to make it exceedingly bright! This being so, step onto the untraveled road of life stretching out ahead of you with confidence, serving and worshiping Him “as you go” with a happy and thankful heart.
Thomas Schuetze is pastor of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lakewood, Colorado.