Last night as I sat on the verge of 2016, for the first time in a long time, I found myself a little reluctant to cross the threshold into the new year. I know it’s silly, because, ready or not, that clock is not going to stop for me or anyone else on the planet.
Still, there I stood in fear; fear that I might forget the loved ones that I lost in 2015. “At least,” I thought to myself, “this time last year we were breathing the same air and wishing one another a happy new year to come.” Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
Fear that my job will continue to be unbearably stressful and, if I’m completely truthful, fear of what my new life as an empty nester will bring in the days ahead. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
But, perhaps most of all, I stood frozen on the brink of the new year as health concerns and the very real possibility of a troubling diagnosis continues to hover over my present and haunt my future. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick. TOCK.
I closed my eyes and—symbolically trying to bring a close to 2015 which had been bathed in tears and realistically knowing that starting 2016 clothed in fear stood against everything that I KNOW to be true—I decided to pray in the new year.
However, before I could even utter a single word—in the single tick of the clock—the following words floated straight down from heaven.
“Fear not, child, for I am with you.”
He needed not say more.
Eight simple words with such powerful impact. Comfort, Love, Promise, Hope, and Grace all rolled up in one short sentence.
“Thank You, God, for that. Thank You for You,” I replied, my heart bursting with relief and gratitude, my eyes releasing cleansing tears and my spirit digging in a little deeper to the words He spoke.
Though it may not be true as other authors and internet posts claim that “Fear Not” appears verbatim 365 times in the bible, it is true that these beautiful and comforting words appear in some form or fashion many, many, many times. The same goes for the phrase, ‘I am with you.’ In fact, resting in the peace, hope and grace of God’s Presence is a primary theme of God’s Word and a cornerstone in its—and our—very foundation.
Oh how very much our God loves us. Oh how very much He wants us to follow Him; to walk with Him; to trust Him; and to rest in Him. Oh, how very blessed we are.
Thank you, God, for Your infinite love and for putting up with me and my humanness. For loving me in spite of my stubbornness and for keeping and reminding me of your promises. Because of You, I am ready to face this new year with hope and peace. May 2016 find me walking even closer to You and to Your will and purpose for me. May I be a reason that Your Kingdom gains more citizens, growing greater and larger than ever before. Bring on 2016. Because of You, Lord, and You alone, I am ready! Amen and Ehmen.
And the very Word of God says:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. –Psalm 23:4
The Lord is my light and my salvation—who shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? –Psalm 27:1
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?—Psalm 118:6
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.—2 Timothy 1:7
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.—Deuteronomy 31:6
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?—Psalm 56:3-4
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.—Isaiah 41:10
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.—Isaiah 41:13
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “”Abba,” Father.—Romans 8:15
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”—Hebrews 13:5-6
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.—Matthew 6:25-34
David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.—1 Chronicles 28:20
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord—Luke 2: 9-11