I always stay up to greet the new year. I feel like it’s my duty to be awake when it comes sashaying in.
New Year’s Eve 2020 was no different. With a strong cup of Dunkin’ Donuts to assist my spirit, I watched the ball drop in New York and then tiptoed to bed.
When my head hit my pillow, I pondered the significance of a new year. Two thousand twenty had been hard. My precious mother went to heaven in February from what we now are fairly certain was COVID. The country and world had been turned upside down from the virus, but also from hate and division. December brought the passing of my father who had battled cancer.
To be honest, I was nervous.
Earlier in the evening after hearing of many we know with COVID, I jokingly/not-jokingly told my beloved that I was thinking of painting the doorposts and lintels with blood (Exodus 12:7). It seemed that the death angel had been coming through the camp! By the end of 2020, I had developed an everyday habit of saying out loud-so my brain and heart could hear-“Nothing will happen today that God can’t help me through!”
Sometimes I plan through worst-case scenarios in my head so if they do happen, I will be ready. In one way, I feel by pre-thinking situations in advance it will keep me from losing my mind if it all comes down. In reality, I’m spending precious moments today concerned (aka fretting) about things that may never come about tomorrow. My husband was sick that very night. Was it COVID? As I tried to go to sleep, I pondered hospitalization and future life. Playing the worst case scenario game before bed is not conducive to falling sleep quickly.
Could 2021 be worse than 2020?
I felt like the Israelites standing on the precipice of the Promised Land. They HAD to be nervous. They HAD to be scared at what lay ahead. Very New Year 2021.
They had come out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and through the desert. Bread had fallen from heaven in the mornings, meat had flown in just in time for supper. They had seen the Hand of God at work. He had delivered them to the very place where they stood-and their shoes had never worn out! There had been nothing, not one thing, God had not helped His people through! Still, they faced uncertain days, unknown dangers, unfamiliar territory.
So what word did God give them at that monumental moment? Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Remembering the story, I knew THIS was my verse for the new year!
I, too, have seen God at work. He has been good. He has been faithful. He can be trusted. There is nothing God can’t help me/us through in 2021. Even death. Heaven awaits those who know Him!
So I will forge ahead into the new year. Yes, there will be giants. Yes, there will be battles. But God will be with me every step of the way!
UPDATE: Four days into 2021, we have both tested positive for COVID. God is still good! Joshua 1:9!
Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org