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Trusting God Beyond the Unknown: New Year, New Faith

Hands up those of you who claimed, this time last year that 2023 was going to be your year. Ok. keep your hands up if looking back at 2023 from where we are now you still think that it was your year? As I suspected for some of us the expectations and reality didn’t add up.

At the end of every year or the start of a new one, I often hear people claiming the year ahead. Statements go something like this:

‘2024 will be my year’

‘this year everything will change for me’

‘things are going to happen in 2024’.

But let me throw in a curveball, what happens if they don’t?

Walk with me through the lens of some Bible characters who know exactly what i’m talking about:

Starting at Genesis we have Abraham. God promised this man he would be the father of many nations, that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. Yet, as the years passed Abraham started to view God’s promise through the lens of impossibility. His faith wavered and he struggled to see how this thing could ever come to pass.

Then there’s Moses: His mere existence was a miracle in itself. He was told he would be instrumental in leading God’s people from slavery into freedom. God did incredible things through him and worked signs and wonders in order to free his people. Yet once the people he helped were free, Moses was challenged with their stubborn, rebellious and ungrateful hearts.

My favourite, David: He started out as just a lowly shepherd, he was anointed to be the next king of Israel. His family couldn't believe it and the prophet didn’t expect it. After showing immense courage and becoming the greatest warrior in his time he ended up a wanted man, running for his life.

Let’s not forget Paul: This man went through an incredible transformation from persecutor to believer. He left his old life behind to follow the truth knowing full well that his past might be a barrier. Nonetheless he did all he could to share truth to those he encountered. Somehow he found himself imprisoned, isolated and rejected.

You may be wondering, why I singled out these specific parts of their lives. Why did I choose to focus on the trials? Why am I highlighting the struggle? Because it’s all part of the journey.

If we look back just a four short years ago things as simple as meeting up in a group was pretty much illegal, we didn’t hug or even get within two metres of each other. We only ever saw each other through screens and for a very long time those gorgeous smiles were replaced by irritating blue masks. We did not see a year like that coming, but it was part of the journey.

Part of being human means we are not equipped with eyes to see the future and we don’t actually know what’s around the corner. The same is true for 2024. This new year may bring joy, peace, answers and forgiveness or on the flip side 2024 may bring pain, struggle, challenge and heartache. What if it's marbled with bits of both?

hand reaching out, trusting God

I can’t stand here and say that on the other side of the sunset is the best year the we will have ever seen but what I can say is that it has the potential to be the year we we exercise the greatest faith we’ve ever had.

Let me go back and finish the stories of these incredible characters:

Abraham did have a son, and that son went on to have two sons, and one of those sons went on to have twelve sons and the family continued to grow. Abraham may never have seen the promise God gave Him play out the way we can, but God was continually faithful.

Moses did lead the Israelites to freedom, they were ungrateful, they didn’t do everything right, they messed up time and time again but still God remained faithful.

David although excellent and skilled in many ways was hunted and chased by a jealous king who wanted him dead. Yet through those experiences we have the Psalms. David did go on to become king and yet again God was faithful.

Paul not only went from being a persecutor to believer but to writer, teacher, evangelist and friend. Our Bibles are filled with letters of wisdom he wrote to the surrounding cities, from the prison cells and places of isolation that bound him. And yes, once again we see that God was faithful.

If we serve a God who is continually faithful, what’s stopping us from choosing to put our complete faith in Him?

”Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.“ Hebrews 11:1
For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 

Whatever 2024 holds, I want to encourage us to remain faithful, to choose today that we will choose to trust in God, no matter what. To purpose that in 2024 circumstance will not dampen our praise, fear will not take our eyes off Jesus and that our hearts will be in tune with God’s will not our own.

To close, I want to read to you the words of the chorus of one of my favourite songs:

In every high, In every low

On mountain tops, down broken roads

You’re still my Rock, my hope remains

I’ll rest in the arms of Jesus

Come what may.

I’d like you to please turn to the person next to you and pray that God will strengthen their faith in 2024. That God will help us as a church support each other through the good times and the bad times and that we will individually and collectively choose to trust in God come what may.

Challenge: Give someone in your phone book a call, pray with them. Ask God to strengthen their faith in 2024 and that in the good and bad times they'll trust God come what may.


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