After forty years of wandering through the wilderness the Children of Israel stood on the brink of promise. A whole generation had died during the wandering and a new generation stood poised to enter the land flowing with milk and honey.
" The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant."
It was a promise from the Lord - the One whose word never fails.
However there was the matter of a river overflowing its banks and great armies populated by men who looked like giants that stood between them and the fulfillment of that promise. It would require something of them if they were to finally enter that land of promise.
Knowing their frailty the Father spoke another promise into their hearts:
"Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you."
They would not be going alone. He would be with them every difficult step of the way.
We too stand on the brink of promise - a new year filled with possibility and hope. Its minutes, hours and days carry with them the gift of new beginnings, and we long to embrace it. But, in our frailty, we stand still knowing we cannot see beyond that bend in the road. There are places we know we must travel that cause us to be fearful and discouraged.
Has there has been a diagnosis that brings you to your knees in fear; or a family member whose chosen path is leading them to certain grief; the uncertainty of employment or financial problems; aging family members whose health is failing - just a few of the "giants" in the land.
He sees and knows and gives us the same promise He gave to His children thousands of years ago. He will PERSONALLY go ahead of each of us; He already knows the way. But He won't get out of sight, He has promised to be WITH us. He is in the process of bringing us to a land flowing with milk and honey.
Whatever this year holds, whether great sorrow or great joy, whether riches or poverty, whether sickness or health - He has promised that He will never fail us or abandon us. We can walk into this new year with great hope and courage.
"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."