New resolutions...no thank you.
New goals...just the thought made me want to gag.
New outlook...yeah, probably what I needed.
It was at the end of a Sunday service when my pastor invited everyone to come forward and pick from the basket a promise for the new year. A promise? Hmmm, now that peaked my interest a bit.
I have never done this before and as I walked towards the front of the sanctuary I heard him say, "You can take more than one." No, I will only take one, thank you anyway.
As I reached into the basket I remember thinking God knows what I need this year and I pulled a card from the basket. I headed back to the pew and I quickly read, "Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." Joshua 1:9
Not a verse I could say I knew. In fact, I don't ever recall hearing or reading it before. Part of me felt a bit disappointed and I tucked the card away.
I don't know what I was anticipating the card to read, but I'm guessing I secretly hoped it shouted out something to change the way I was feeling at that time.
Days later I remembered the card. I pulled it out and read it again. I remembered then why I felt so disappointed. The only words on the card I saw were afraid and dismayed. Lord, what do you mean afraid? I'm not afraid and I don't want to be. If this is Your promise for me this year then it means I will feel afraid and/or dismayed. I remembered thinking no, I don't want this and in denial I put the card down. Funny thing is, time and time again I picked that card up and read it again and again. Eventually, I could see God's promise. His promise is He is with me wherever I go. This time I placed the card where I could see it daily, tucked in the corner of a picture frame on my dresser, knowing this was something I needed to store in my heart. For the day would come when I would need to truly know and believe God's promise.
I am always amazed by how God provides for us, His timing and knowing exactly what we need and when. That day did come this past year when fear and anxiety rushed in like a tidal wave that could have drowned me. Even though I knew what was causing my anxiety and fear, I couldn't understand why because I knew I was no longer that person. Through the years as I grew closer to God I have become a new creature and I know the spirit of fear is not from the Lord, yet I was feeling very vulnerable and weak. "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." Eph 6:12 The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to destroy. (1 Peter 5:8)
I knew the devil was trying to bring me down and sometimes it may seem easier to give up the fight. But we must persevere, stay strong in God's Word, and pray. Tell God all our cares and worries because he cares about us! (1 Peter 5:7) And that is exactly what I did. I refused to let the devil win. I soaked my soul in God's promises. I read and re-read scripture, listened to songs that gave me strength and encouragement, spoke to my pastor and friends who encouraged and prayed with me and I prayed myself.
We aren't meant to fight these battles on our own. God is bigger than all creation and we need to know He is here for us and with us. He has our backs, there is no need to be afraid.
Even though I picked that promise from the basket almost one year ago, it was never forgotten, tucked deep into my heart. And when the storm raged on and the fear became overwhelming, almost paralyzing, God reminded me.
Be strong and of good courage!
Do not be afraid or dismayed!
I am with you wherever you go!
I am with you.
Have a blessed day!