2018: How Shall We Proceed? by Donnie L. Martin

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Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 18 Jan 18 - 0 Comments

Has it dawned on you yet that 2018 has dawned upon us? Ready or not, the New Year is here, and the question is no longer “What shall we do when it arrives?” but rather, “How shall we proceed?” One would like to think that we could prepare for every contingency. But we know full well that that’s impossible. All we can do is prepare for the future as best we know how, and trust God with the rest. The Word of God counsels us with these words: “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1).

James also had something to say about making plans in an uncertain world. We can either live our lives focused on “self” or we can live life focused on the Savior, living in daily submission to Him. James strongly suggests the latter. Take his words to heart in the following verses:

James 4:13 “Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.’

14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.
15 What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’
16 Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.
17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”

Life isn’t static; and therefore, we must be ready to accept the fact that even our best-laid plans are sometimes thwarted by the unforeseen curveballs of life. A commentator, reflecting on James 4:13-17, made the following observation:

It is good to have goals, but goals can disappoint us if we leave God out of them. There is no point in making plans as though God does not exist because the future is in his hands. The beginning of good planning is to ask: “What would I like to be doing ten years from now? One year from now? Tomorrow? How will I react if God steps in and rearranges my plans?” We can plan ahead, but we must hold on to our plans loosely. If we put God’s desires at the center of our planning, he will never disappoint us.

There’s an old gospel song that says, “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand. But I know Who holds tomorrow, And I know He holds my hand.” Now that we’re at the beginning of 2018, how do we proceed from here? We should determine to keep holding tightly to the hand of Jesus; trust Him to guide you through those troublesome and confusing days when nothing seems clear; and we should share the love of Jesus to those around us. Proverbs puts it this way: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Though 2018 is as yet an untrodden path, may we entrust it to Christ, that He will be glorified in the year before us.

I’d like to close with the following thoughts from Frances R. Havergal, that godly songwriter of last century. May her prayer be ours today.

Another year is dawning,
Dear Father let it be,
In working or in waiting,
Another year with thee.

Another year of progress,
Another year of praise,
Another year of proving
Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness,
The glory of thy face.

Another year of leaning
Upon thy loving breast,
Another year of trusting,
Of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service,
Of witness for thy love,
Another year of training
For holier work above.

Another year is dawning,
Dear Father, let it be,
On earth, or else in heaven,
Another year for thee.

 

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