The airport is crowded this morning. As I wait for my flight, I watch the parade of people. Disgruntled teenagers with caps pulled down over their eyes trailing behind determined parents. Bright-eyed couples holding hands with the honeymoon sun still on their faces. A group of grey-headed ladies in pink matching t-shirts laughing and exchanging stories while they sip coffee. I wonder about all of them. Where have they come from? Where are they going?
I realize all over again in that moment God knows the answers. He sees every detail of our lives. He’s been with us in every step we’ve ever taken. And as we welcome a new year, this reassures me because none of us knows what’s ahead. There are certain to be blessings and moments of happiness. There will also be hard days and tears shed. Some parts of our lives will stay much the same and others, like it or not, will inevitably change.
A blond little girl in pigtails walks by with a stuffed brown bear in her arms. Seeing her reminds me of the first time I flew by myself. I was only five years old when I marched up to the ticket counter with a little red suitcase in hand to tell the amused airline employee the plane needed to come so I could go see my Grandma. My parents observed from close by and made sure every bit of the trip was in order. These days I carry a leopard print laptop bag, and I’ve flown away from my comfort zone many times. But on the inside, that younger self and I still have much in common. We want to know we’re safe, we’re loved.
We’re going to be okay. That’s what gives us the courage to pick up our bag and go.
Psalm 121:8 says, “The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever.” This is mysterious to me because difficult things happen, people get sick, and life doesn’t always work out the way I planned. But even if I don’t understand them fully, these words offer hope because it means whatever may transpire, God is still taking caring of me.
Three hundred and sixty thousand people will arrive on this earth through birth today. One hundred and fifty thousand will depart. The other seven billion of us will go about our business — catching flights, rocking babies, showing up for work, and eating fudge cake. And God will watch over it all. Every coming and going. Every beginning and end. Every dream come true and heartbreak. He has done this for all of history. He is doing so today. He will continue every day of this new year. Yes, every day of our whole lives.
We may not know what is ahead of us, but we can be absolutely certain of Who is with us. We are not random passengers, nameless and unknown in the crowd of humanity. We are beloved children of the God who breathed life into our lungs and who numbers every hair on our heads. So let’s go boldly into in a new year with the confidence that all things are possible and, in the end, all will be well.
God, thank You for being with me through this holiday season and into the new year. I’m so grateful You are my hope and help. You will give me everything I need for whatever is ahead. I choose to trust and believe that You have good plans for me. You are with me, for me, and working out Your purposes in my life today and always. With You, the best is yet to be. I love You. Amen.
If you’d like more encouragement for the new year, you’ll find it in Hope Your Heart Needs: 52 Encouraging Reminders of How God Cares for You. Order your copy before midnight on December 31st, fill out this form, and you’ll also receive Hope for the Holidays, an exclusive, limited-time only ebook — for free!
We may not know what is ahead of us, but we can be absolutely certain of Who is with us. - @holleygerth: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I prayed that prayer with you, Holley. No, I don’t know where the bends in the road up ahead will take me, but I DO know that I can take hold of that righteous right hand that God so lovingly offers, and I can go forward with Him in confidence. I look back at how faithful He has been. He’s never left nor forsaken me and He’s has surprised me with His big picture thinking. So, I can have hope that He’s got this….He’s got me and come what may, He will give me the grace to make it through. He is my hope. Lovely post!
Holley Gerth says
Thanks, Bev! Glad we can trust Jesus together for the year ahead! 🙂
Beth Williams says
The future is unknown to us simple humans. It can be scary to traverse this Earth without knowing what’s next. As Christians we take heart that we have a loving God walking this journey with us. God is not only walking with us He knows what will happen. The hard, ugly times that come are no surprise to Him. Life sure doesn’t work out they way we all think it should. My elderly neighbor lost her last living son this year. My 90 year old FIL had stage III bladder cancer surgery. Why is one living fine & the other grieving? Questions we will never answer this side of Heaven. What lies ahead for the new year? No one knows for sure. Jeremiah 29:11 states: “For I know the plans I have for you.” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you & not harm. Plans to give you a hope & a future.” Let’s step into 2019 with expectant hope.
My husband of only 4 years that I was with him passed away December 16th. I raised my daughter alone for 18 years since she was 5 yrs old, who lives now on another continent. I was alone for 18 years before I met my wonderful, godly and good husband. I know that “God is with us”, but I still feel alone. I have wonderful people at my church who care. But after a while that will fade. I am heartbroken and just want to join my husband in heaven. I don’t see 2019 as a year of hope. I’m sorry to be negative. Perhaps I will find peace through God and most importantly purpose. God bless you!
I am deeply sorry for your loss, and for the significant heartache you must be feeling. I pray that you feel the Lord’s comfort, and with time the pain lessens allowing you to feel joy again.
Thank you, Penny. God bless you.
Shirley Stiemann says
Dear Holley: Thank you Holley, for your encoragement each week, which I look forward to. I like to pass this on also, to some family and friends. This has been a year of loss for me in that my husband of nearly 62 years, passed away. Yes, he is missed, but when one knows Christ it is such a blessing, and we “sorrow not as those who have no hope.” We served the Lord together in the pastorate and it is my desire to continue on, to encourage those in Christ, and to also share the Good News of the Gospel with those who do not have that Hope. (It is amazing to see how He opens those doors.) One Day, we will be “forever with our Lord.” Oh, what a Day that will be! “So I pray that God who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in Him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Holley Gerth says
Thank you, Shirley! Praying for comfort for you and cheering you on as you continue the ministry you and your dear husband shared!
I cannot fathom the pain you are in. Hold onto Jesus. He’s holding on to you.
Thank you Dee! God bless!
Holley Gerth says
Trina, I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband. I’m praying for you this morning, that Jesus will tenderly comfort you, wrap his arms around your heart, and surround you with his love. There are no words to make the pain go away but you are not alone in it. XOXO
Thank you Holley. I took the “Your Word for the Year “quiz. It was hope. God is telling me something. God bless you and all the ladies here.
You’ve brought back memories of when I too would board a plane at a very young age, fearlessly. But through the years as I’ve grown older, Romans 5:3-4 comes to mind;
“We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulations produce patience, and patience character, and character Hope.”
Thank-you for sharing,
Blessings to all,
Susan G. says
Thanks for this great reminder Holley! That God is always with us, watching over us, and He has great plan and purpose for each of us. So glad He goes before me and is already there at the end of it all! This is the first time in 44 years of marriage that I was a bit ‘down in the doldrums’ so to speak. I guess not having any kids or grandkids here for Christmas (the first time ever) had something to do with it. 😉
So glad He is always our Hope!
Fixing my eyes on Him!
Happy New Year 2019 to you!
May we not forget all His “benefits”!
Becky Keife says
Holley, I love picturing you as a little traveler with your red suitcase. And I love remembering that God always knows where our journey leads, and more importantly, He goes with us. Much love to you in the new year!
Jeanine Berthet says
Thank you for reminding me that I am not nameless or unknown but I am beloved child of God. That really encourages me today. And I prayed the prayer with you at the end thank you so much. I love your writing and I go looking for it because it really encourages me. Thank you.
Mary Buabeng says
Dear Holley, thanks for these encouraging message. I believe that and yet, I FEEL EMPTY. Such emptiness I have not felt before. I feel God very very distant. But I choose to hope and believe that 2019 will be a better year. TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE IT!!!
Holley Gerth says
I hear you, Mary. I’ve struggled with depression on and off throughout my life and can certainly relate to feeling empty. Praying you’re filled up with hope and joy in 2019! If you keep feeling empty, please talk to a counselor or doctor–both were essential in how God healed me. XOXO
Ms. Shally Joseph says
Hi Holley – I do love it that you are en encourager! That’s a wonderful job for the Lord.
Now, it is true that no matter what happens each day world in the natural goes on as usual for all mankind. However, in my understanding of the Bible the natural no more applies to the believer! He / she walks under the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit spiritually, physically, emotionally and financially while this cannot be said of unbelievers!
So when we bring things to perspective – the world of the Believer and the Unbeliever are poles apart. I didn’t decide on this status quo – but God did when He sent His Son. When anyone believes in Christ Jesus He / She is 1) assured of not perishing 2) assured of Eternal life (everlasting relationship with the Father & the Son) 3) assured of The forever Presence of the Holy Spirit 4) assured of The fruit of the Spirit 5) assured of The power of the Spirit (the 9 Gifts); 6) assured of All the promises of God which are Yes and Amen in Christ Jesus – deliverance, safety, preservation, divine health, healing, prosperity, peace & forgiveness of sins; 7) assured of the rapture & the hope of a glorious body 8) assured of returning with Christ to reign forever.
Now, I cannot see any of this for the unbeliever – not according to what the Bible says! Yes, God is All Knowing but He cannot intervene in the lives of people who do not come to Him in the Name of Jesus Christ. There is no other name under heaven that God turns His Head to!
So yes there is Hope – the confident expectation of good – but it is available ONLY to believers! Now for those who are seeking the Truth but yet to find Him, yes it is very possible that our Heavenly Abba could be orchestrating the right people or situations into their lives so that they can be offered the opportunity to get to ‘know’ Him. But here again our Heavenly Abba does not manipulate anyone.
Bad things happen in the world because people are not ready to humble themselves to the need of a Savior. Most people think they can do without The Son and The Sacrifice. This pride has resulted in the various streams of religions, increased number of hospitals, doctors, clinics, nursing homes, magicians, all kinds of dark world activities besides yoga and so much of unwanted such!
Now there is nothing wrong with the medical profession, because it takes very strong faith (which in truth actually is not even our own – it is in Christ’s faith that we live, so it should not be much of a struggle to exercise it, yet ignorance causes many Christians to still struggle with the issue of Faith) to first trust God Who cannot be seen, while doctors and their kind are just human and limited in their understanding as opposed to an infinite God Who is all knowing!
The truth is without the Son NO ONE can have The Father and therefore very few have access to The Kingdom and Kingdom authority!
Long story short – I do not profess to the teaching and understanding that God’s salvation (which includes all of the above that I listed) and grace, post-Cross, works for unbelievers UNLESS they decide to believe.
Jane Ward Smith says
I am so glad I found this post. It was just what I needed. This time of year is difficult for me. You may wonder why and may not know that my son, Tim passed away New Years Day 2015. He died suddenly with a massive heart attack. Sadness seems to envelop me each year at this time making me less joyful than I normally am. Also, My mother passed away Dec. 1, 1985. Yes, that has been a very long time but we still miss our loved ones when God calls them home. For many years we lived our lives with few loved ones leaving us and then death reaches out to those dear to us. I never expected to outlive my child because our children are our future.
The new year is before us and I know who holds the future. I am blessed to have had a long life and look forward to each day as I wake and thank God for each breath I breathe. I know God has a reason for continuing to keep me here. He has more work for me to do and I press on seeking ways I can serve Him. I am so grateful for meeting you again after all these years. Thanks for blessing me with your words of wisdom today and I look forward to the next time. Happy New Year sweet friend. ~Jane Ward Smith.
I was awakened by an early morning text from my sister asking for prayer for her daughter-in-law who went into labor this morning. She is 28 days early. I immediately went before our heavenly Father in prayer for Jessica and baby Ellie. Please pray for my sister Marie and her son Jarrod. Pray that the Lord will draw Jessica and Jarrod to Him. That they will see their need for a Savior. Please also pray that our other siblings (who are not saved) will be convicted by the Holy Spirit and that they too will see their need for a Savior, that they will have repentant hearts and surrender their lives to Him. Lord bless you this New Year.
Holley, thank you, you have such a way with words that brings so much HEART to whatever you’re writing about. It just comes alive! Thank you for those words of comfort. Bless you this year.
Cher Cairns says
I just lost my sister on November 11th, 2018 she was 58. Was a big loss for me and her children and grandchildren. We were coming to terms with it until the autopsy came back and we found out she was poisoned. Please pray they find out who did this to her so we can feel some closure in our lives and that our brothers don’t think it was a Suicide. I suffer from depression but the Lord has held me up strong on every side. Praise Jesus he has really come through like never before. I feel a strength and love so powerful from him fresh water flowing over me. Keep me and my family in your prayers the ones that don’t know the Lord would come to know him through this. Amen God Bless