Here we are near the end of this year, inching closer to the start of 2023. Don’t we all have traditions or routines that help us put last year in our rearview mirrors and bravely step into the new one? Many of my friends and I have a practice where we choose a scripture verse that speaks to us about the character we want to emulate all year. Last year I chose:
Psalm 73:26My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever.
I could go backward and share ten other verses from all the years I have been doing this, but just for today, just this one – 2023
Isaiah 41:10“I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Be not dismayed – this world is not my God, nor is it a substitute for God. Nothing can match the power, the love, the joy, the peace, the contentment that only comes from the God who is righteous and holy and keeps the universe from falling apart.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Do not fear. Do not be dismayed. The world gives us many reasons to fear and even more reasons to be dismayed. Conditions may not change. Circumstances might stay the same. But letting fear and anxiety eat your soul is not helping, in fact it’s hurting you more. What good are those incessant thoughts rooted in fear that become anger that become depression then become life altering? Nothing good comes out of dwelling in the land where fear changes you and makes you weak and unable to fight back.
Are you curious about God’s power to hold the universe in place? You will love what you read in Isaiah 40. It’s 31 verses and you can read them all in under three minutes.
Do not fear. God is with you.
Do not be dismayed. God made you. He wants you to trust him.
Be strong. God will give you strength.
Have faith. God will hold you up so you don’t fall away from the person you want to be.
Be brave. Nobody wants to be a fearful, timid, tired out weakling.
Here is a confirmation from Isaiah 40, “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.”
If you know God, if you trust God, He says in Isaiah 40:31, “those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.”
In 2023 I will remember: Isaiah 41:10 “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Let’s all be brave. Let’s all recognize that in God there is strength. Let’s all remember that we can trust our future when we place our faith in God.