What Will Happen This Year? A New Year’s reflection

What Will Happen This Year? A New Year’s reflection

When I look ahead to 2019, I get excited about the people whose lives will be touched and changed by the message of the gospel. I get energized by the opportunities we’ll have to serve God in the ministry of Jews for Jesus around the world. My schedule is already planned out, so I know all the places where I will be ministering for the next 12 months.

But as eager as I am for all the opportunities, there’s another side to looking ahead.  At times, I feel a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of so much travel, not to mention as-yet-unknown problems and challenges that are likely to pop up when I least expect it.

The new year: exciting or overwhelming?

It’s a little like “syllabus shock,” the way many college students feel at the beginning of a new semester. As they flip through all their syllabi, the lists of materials to be read, papers to be written, and tests to be taken seem to create an insurmountable mountain. Students wonder, “How will I ever get all of this done?”  Ever feel that way about all the “to-do”s in your life?

Most of us like to feel that we are in control of our lives; we hope that planning, hard work, and a little luck will cause the piles of things we want to do to turn out all right.  Yet God tells His children something that many of us find hard to handle:

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’” (James 4:13–15).

Plan, prepare… surprises will still come

Yes, it’s wise to plan and prepare and work for what is coming in the days ahead—but in the end, shouldn’t we trust God with our future and submit our plans to Him, confessing “if the Lord wills”?  To do so acknowledges that God knows what is best for us, wants what is best for us and will do what is best for us.  When we stretch ourselves out on the assurance of His sovereign watch care over our lives, we can live with confidence, even when we aren’t sure why certain things happen.

I was planning to fly my parents from Israel to the U.S. to join us in celebrating my daughter Ilana, who is graduating with a master’s degree in guidance counseling. Then my mother had a stroke. I am still unsure about her prospects for recovery and whether she will be able to come celebrate with us.  Many colleagues in Jews for Jesus face similar challenges as we care for our aging parents. What challenges are you facing in this coming year?

It’s good to remember that the Lord wants us to present all our plans, our anticipated joys as well as all of our fears, to Him. Thankfully, when we do that, we find a wondrous source of endless strength.

Recently I have been comforted by this verse: “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel – that will stand” (Prov. 19:21).

God’s counsel is to comfort and strengthen me with His promises

Don’t you think it is better that God’s counsel will stand than that things turn out the way we plan?  I am not planning to experience pain and loss this year, but in this fallen world, no doubt I will. I am so glad that God’s counsel is to comfort and strengthen me with His promises. And I’m not planning to sin this year, but since I haven’t yet graduated from His school of holiness, I know I will.  I am so thankful that His counsel is to forgive me of my sins as I confess them to Him.

Whatever your hopes, plans, and even fears may be for this year, be sure that God’s ultimate plan is “to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24-25).

David Brickner is also an author, public speaker, and avid hiker. Find out more about David, his writings, speaking schedule, and possible availability to speak at your church.

Download the entire January edition to see news from our missionaries in Moscow, Washington, DC, prayer prompters, and pointers about what you can do about anti-Semitism.

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David Brickner | San Francisco

Executive Director, Missionary

David Brickner is executive director of Jews for Jesus. David oversees the world-wide ministry from its headquarters in San Francisco. David received his Master’s degree in Missiology with a concentration in Jewish Evangelism and Judaic Studies from the Fuller School of World Mission. He has authored several books, and has been interviewed on national television shows such as Larry King Live. David’s daughter Ilana is a graduate of Biola. His son Isaac is on the missionary staff of Jews for Jesus. Isaac and his wife Shaina have one daughter, Nora, and a son, Levy, which makes David part of the grandparent club, a membership he is very proud of. See more here.

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