Scripture

Deuteronomy 31:6-8

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.”

 

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Reflection

One of the things I say often in messages and writings is that “God goes before you and with you, God is for you. God will never leave you. You are not alone.” I say that as a reminder, to those hearing or reading, and to myself. Because I am not always connected to God, to the source of life in the way I should be. I am sure the same is true for most of you. I work hard at remaining in God’s presence, at loving God and being with God so that I can always sense the presence of the Holy Spirit. I do this through spiritual practices like daily reading and studying of scriptures, dedicated prayer time, meditation, and prayer throughout the day.

But I am human, and I wander, drift, get distracted, and forget. I let my issues and dysfunctions get in the way of my daily walk with God. And sometimes, I don’t “feel” like God is with me or for me. I wonder why things are happening the way they are, I question God’s ways, presence, and power. Does the same happen to you? I think for most of us, this is natural and common.

And yet, based on my experience and understanding of God, here is what I know to be true. “God goes before me and with me, God is for me. God will never leave me. I am not alone.” It really doesn’t matter if I “feel” connected to the source or not. God is unshakeable, ever-present, and “for” me in a way I cannot even fathom. You see, God is not dependent on my ways. God is the way, the foundation, the creator, the great lover of my soul. God is with me regardless of my feelings. I can trust God completely, whether I feel like it or not. And in that truth, I can find peace, hope, a way forward.

In the verses today, Moses was preparing Joshua and all of the Israelites to move into the Promised Land. There was fear, worry, and formidable obstacles ahead of them. Moses was reminding them that God was with them and can be trusted.

So this year, I suggest you create some sort of reminder that will allow you to trust God with every moment of the next 365 days. Perhaps it is a scripture (like the one above) you write out and place in prominent places. Perhaps it is a note from God that says, Dear _____, I go before you and with you. I am for you. I will never leave you. You are not alone. Trust me. Love, God. 

Prayer

Dear God, as I stand at the beginning of this new year, I confess my deep need for your presence and guidance as I move into the future. I have hopes, plans, and expectations for the year ahead. But you alone hold the future. It is by your strength and wisdom that I can meet the challenges in the days, weeks, and months to come. So I humbly put my plans and dreams into your hands, and I trust you to go before me and with me into the future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.