Often at the end of a year, I wonder what the following year would bring. I prepare for and actively participate in the cross-over service and activities with all the excitements, but at the back of my mind… I just wonder.
When we are on the verge of something new, such as a new year, new job, new relationship, new family, new neighborhood, etc., there is a natural tendency to go beyond wonder and fret. Even when we are excited about the prospect of newness, there is usually a niggling feeling of uncertainty. It can be likened to the experience of driving a car alone for the first time, excitement mixed with caution.
When I started my first job, I woke up that morning with great expectations and excitement. I am now employed! I looked forward to meeting new people, learning new things and earning money (of course!); but I just wondered, “What if I fail?” “What if I cannot deliver on the job?” “What if my boss is mean?” “What if I do not fit in?”
The day I got married, I was super excited, at the same time, I was super anxious…”Will I be a good wife?” “Will he be a good husband?” “Will my in-laws continue to smile so brilliantly?” “Is this for-better-for-worse vow for real?” “What if I or we get tired?” “How will we raise our children?” “What if we do not have children?” ...The questions in my mind were endless…
I remember my first pregnancy, which sadly ended in a miscarriage in the first trimester. My husband and I were so excited at the prospect of becoming parents, but at the back of my mind, I wondered… “Who will the baby look like?” “Will the baby be a boy or a girl?” “Will I be a good mum?”
Truth be told, being on the verge of something new is fraught with some uncertainty and some degree of anxiety. In addition to being on the verge of something new, facing challenges or walking down a difficult path in life can also be associated with a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety. When we face periods of change or uncertainty, having a guarantee, a firm assurance, alters everything. It gives you peace of mind that you do not have to worry about anything, particularly if the person providing the guarantee is credible.
When we buy new appliances, we look at the extremely tiny and sometimes unreadable fine prints of the warranty slip and walk out of the store with confidence, believing that all will be well with our new appliance. We trust that if anything goes wrong, we are somehow covered. This is a guarantee and our confidence is usually based on the perceived ability and credibility of the manufacturers.
A guarantee is a formal assurance that certain conditions will be fulfilled. A guarantee is a good thing to have, particularly when there is a lot at stake. The higher the stakes the higher the assurance we require. In life, people look for ways to obtain certainty; even the business man who is a risk taker, looks for ways to manage and mitigate the business risk, particularly when the stakes are high. Likewise, our lives are high-stake ventures. Having adequate guarantee can affect how high we can attempt to soar and how much we can achieve.
As I stood at the end of one year and contemplated the next, the Lord graciously led my heart to Deuteronomy 31:8 and enlightened my understanding of His guarantee to me – actually to all of us His children. These were glorious words of definite encouragement to a people going forth into a new life, with a new leader, to meet opposing forces, terrible foes, and even unknown dangers. I ruminated on this passage for a few days and felt emboldened to look forward without trepidation. I knew that there could not be any guarantees except they are given by the God who made the heavens and the earth.
When the Israelites were at the verge of the Promised Land, the rest of their lives was ahead, and God wanted to give them a guarantee…a Divine Guarantee. This guarantee provided a cushion, and a source of hope that all will be well in the Promised Land. This guarantee was solid, based on the credibility of the Person giving the guarantee, the vastness of His power, the magnitude of His greatness, the awesomeness of His glory, the richness of His possessions, the certainty of His abilities, and the incredibility of His influence. I could go on and on but suffice it to say that the guarantee was simple, but solid. This guarantee is contained in Deuteronomy 31:8. “And the LORD, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.” (KJV)