By Elisabeth Eliot
While a new year offers us a fresh start, it can also bring anxiety. Questions crowd into our minds. Will my job become redundant? Is God going to keep me single for another whole year? Where is that mate he’s supposed to be bringing me? Where will the money come from for college, rent, clothes, food? Must I continue to suffer this person, this church, this handicap, this pain, this loneliness?
We have a calming word in Psalm 138.8; “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands.” That word stands. He will fulfill. His love endures. He will not abandon.
We are meddling with God’s business when we let all the manner of imaginings loose, predicting disaster, contemplating possibilities instead of following one day at a time, God’s plain and simple pathway. When we try to meet difficulties prematurely we have neither a light nor the strength for them yet.
“As thy days, so shall thy strength be” was Moses’ blessing for Asher—in other words, your strength shall equal your days. God knows how to apportion each one’s strength according to that day’s need, however great or small. The psalmist understood this when he wrote, “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.”
Whatever may be tomorrow’s cross I never seek to find. My father says, ‘Leave me to that, and keep a quiet mind.” — Anonymous
To lug into this new year all the baggage of the last year would greatly impair our ability to concentrate on what our heavenly father wants us to do…. Oswald Chambers wrote:
Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ. Leave the irreparable past in his hands, and step out into the irresistible future with him.
Can we wholeheartedly surrender to God, leaving quietly with him all the “what ifs” and “but what abouts”? Will we truthfully say to him, “Anything you choose for me Lord—to have, to be, to do, or to suffer. I am at your orders. I have no agenda of my own”?
*Abridged from the Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter.