10th January 2018

‘Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? … for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things’

Matt. 6v31-32

As we come once more to the beginning of another year, folk are quite naturally taken up with themes such as New Year’s resolutions, or reviewing, perhaps with a measure of regret, the year now gone. But also, as they look forward to the 12 months of 2018, this is the time when many seek to predict what the New Year will hold for them. As they ponder upon their hopes and plans for 2018 some are, at this season, seeking to forecast how things will be nationally, as the Brexit negotiations progress with the EU; others, nearer to home, are thinking about their own jobs – maybe even worried that this year will bring a change for the worse in some way or other. Another area of thinking ahead will relate to our loved ones: children facing exams, will any in our family get sick, concern for our elderly relatives who are getting more frail. There are many of life’s areas upon which, as a new year gets underway, we look forward trying to guess or predict how things will turn out over the 12 months just beginning.
On a more worrying and sinister note, some will even go to the lengths of consulting occult means to forecast what lies ahead. It is an ill sign of the times that this is far more common than it used to be. Line upon line of horoscopes are pored over, sometimes Ouija boards are used or even séances attended. All such means are not only highly dangerous to those involved, but clearly proscribed by God in His Word the Bible.
As I thought upon all these things some lines from an old Gospel hymn came to mind:

‘Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives.’

Some of those who seek to predict their future for the year ahead do so merely out of curiosity… but for many it is due to the fear which uncertainty of the unknown brings with it. For some this is just a mild concern, but with others it is a very real gripping fear – one which affects and overshadows most of their living.
But for the Christian such fear should be a thing of the past. The believer in Jesus should be able to sing: ‘All fear is gone’; and the reason is because He knows and loves a risen Lord Jesus Christ – a mighty, loving Saviour who reigns overall – all that is present… all that is to come. As the apostle John writes, His perfect love casts out all fear. We do not know the future. We may be able to make some educated guesses about it – most particularly concerning the immediate future – but even these guesses are far from set and certain. But the Lord, He knows all… even as He has lovingly ordained all for His children. And so, as He taught so wonderfully in the verses above in Matthew 6, we have no need to ‘take thought’ (that is worrying thought) for all those future concerns: what we shall eat… drink… wear…; what we shall do… how we shall live… where we shall go and other such questions regarding the future. Our Lord Jesus He reigns and He knows and His loving eye is upon His children for good.
As the apostle wrote ‘we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8v28).
So as we go into this New Year, perhaps knowing very little as to what it shall hold for us, let our focus, as the people of Christ, be more upon Who we know, rather than what we know. As we are with our dear Saviour and Lord, let us rest in Him. As David penned in Psalm 131v1-2:
‘LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me… Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child’
And so looking to Him and peacefully resting in His love, let us go forward into the months of 2018 in faith and confidence. How blessed that will be for us, in the midst of a fear-filled and uncertain world… as well as how much to the glory of our Lord Jesus.

Pastor Paul Ackerley