Every small square on my new calendar is empty, except for a little numeral indicating each date. As I look at all those unfilled days and all that unclaimed time, I wonder what activities I will have inked in by the end of the year. The possibilities excite and intimidate me, for I'll welcome some happenings, but not all.

While thinking about what lies ahead, I remember an event described in the Old Testament. The people arrived at the banks of the Jordan River, knowing they must cross it in order to enter the land God had promised to their fathers. Surely fear seized them as they saw the Jordan River at flood stage and as they remembered the stories of the formidable foes living on the other side of those rushing waters.

Having to camp there for three days must have increased their anxiety, causing them to welcome the instructions given to them:

When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God, follow them. Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you. Stay about a half mile behind them, keeping a clear distance between you and the Ark. Make sure you don't come any closer. (Joshua 3:3-4 New Living Translation)

Like the Israelites, I, too, have not passed "this way" before. As I stand on the brink of a new year, I do not know what lies ahead. I do not know what paths I'll have to take in order to get to the place of blessing to which God wants to lead me. I do not know what formidable foes await me.

But, the instructions the Israelites received will work for me. I, too, must follow wherever God leads. I, too, must make sure I keep my eyes on the Word of God and let it be my guide.

Even though I don't know what lies ahead, my faith is strengthened as I review my old calendar. Seeing the variety of events that occurred last year reminds me that God helped me in the past. Since the eternal God "is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8 NLT), I can be fully assured that the God who has been faithful to me in the past will continue to be so in the New Year.

"If God brings you to it, He will see you through it."
Like the prophet Samuel who set up a large stone to mark the place where the LORD had given His people a great victory, may I, too, acknowledge, "Up to this point, the LORD has helped me." (1 Samuel 7:12, NLT)

Hopefully, I'll experience many happy moments in the New Year, but I'm expecting some struggles, too, for life brings some to everyone. Knowing I'll encounter challenges and hardships, I receive comfort from this quote someone e-mailed me: "If God brings you to it, He will see you through it."

Actually, it applies to all of the events God allows. When He provides great blessing, I'll need Him to help me handle them properly, just as I'll need Him to help me cope with the points and places of pain.

So, as I prepare my calendar for the New Year, I do so with assurance that the God who loves me will be with me ... wherever He leads and whatever He allows.