2015 Is Going to Scare You

2015 is going to contain things that will frighten you.

I am not a fortune cookie. Life is simply uncertain, and 2015 will be no exception. You may be an adventure-seeker, or you may like to play it safe—either way, this upcoming year is sure to contain situations seemingly custom-designed to propel you neck high into anxiety.

Clinging to the presence of God is the beginning of what it means to “be strong and courageous.”

“Trust God.” That’s what we say to each other in response to these situations. “Just trust God.” And then we act as if that’s the last word on the subject.

Simple advice to “trust God” is helpful—but incomplete. The question is: What does trust look like when you wake up in the morning with a sense of dread about the future?

What Courage Has to Do with It

For some reason, “courage” and “bravery” have slipped out of common usage. Many of us don’t connect with these terms at all, let alone use them on a frequent basis. Courage is a word for the guys. Bravery is a word for firefighters and people in the army. Both have little to do with you and I in our everyday lives.

This troubles me.

Words are powerful—and I’m concerned. I think we have re-defined “trust” as a passive reflection on the sovereignty of God. “Trusting God” has become shorthand for “chilling out.” We’re missing the action of it—trust’s twin, courage.

The definition of courage reads like this:

Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

May I suggest that we begin to re-incorporate this critical, beautiful word back into our vocabularies?

Be Strong and Very Courageous!

Joshua is my favorite case study.

Nervous does not come close to describing what he must have felt. “Pressure” does not begin to encapsulate what he’d just walked into. An entire nation was now looking to him—him!—for leadership.

I love this passage in the beginning of the book of Joshua. God has a message for him in the midst of his fear:

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7–9).

These were God’s specific words to Joshua, in a specific time and place—but they apply to us too. We’ve even received a similar promise, from the lips of Christ Himself in Matthew 28:20, following his command to go out into all the world with His teaching: “And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Notice how the command “be strong and courageous” is linked with the promise “the Lord your God will be with you” by the little word for. Do not be afraid and discouraged—why? Because God goes with you.

Clinging to the presence of God is the beginning of what it means to “be strong and courageous.”

Joshua started there. You and I must start there. Then action follows. He advances into battle. He moves.

One of my favorite authors, G.K. Chesterton, spoke about the action of courage like this:

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms.

It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. “He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,” is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if we will risk it on the precipice.

He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying . . . He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it.

God’s call to courage in the face of fear is not simply a call to passive reflection. It is a call to daring, forward-moving faith. It is a call to “risk it on the precipice.”

When you wake up with dread in the morning, you remind yourself of Jesus’ promise that He is with you. You assess what needs to be done. You ask Him for his help to do it. You believe He is with you, enabling you. And then you go to battle.

2015 will often scare me—I’m sure of that. But I am also sure of Christ’s promise—and with His presence, He can enable me to “venture, persevere, and withstand.” In short, to face it bravely.

About Author

Lindsey Lee

Lindsey Lee's greatest passion is to see the glory of Christ, cherish Him unreservedly, and assist others in doing the same. She makes her home in Toronto.

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  • Anna

    Thank you so much for this post Lindsay!! This was a great reminder and a big boost for me today.

  • Liz

    Thank you! That was perfect! I had a question though….and ask for prayer. Lately I have been feeling the attack of the devil. Spiritual warfare, I guess you could see. I have worried, about my future. At night, I sleep restlessly. I have this doubt of whether life is even worth it. It’s weird. because nothing crazy bad has happened in my life. It’s a beautiful life! But I can’t convince myself of it! I have this idea that because we all die (even though believer’s go to heaven), life is just worthless. Why doesn’t God just send all of us to heaven now? I’m so confused, and I know it’s the devil attacking me. I know we are here to glorify God, and to bring others to Him. I think what prompted this was older people I know, who are “miserable” and can’t wait for death. They say life flies by. Don’t blink they say. Is that all I have to look forward to in 70 years? Awaiting death? Living in gloom? I know not all older people are like this, but…being around these particular ones, I have almost become depressed. Pklease pray that I will withstand this attack! Please pray for the Lord to clear my mind. To sum it up, the lie that “life is short, it’s not even worth it, it’s useless to live it” has filled my mind. Please pray! And any advice is welcome! Thanks!

    • Anna~

      Dear Liz,

      A few thoughts came to mind, and I wanted to share them with you. Yes, life is short, but God has given you a purpose. The shortest or the longest life can be lived to the fullest when serving God. Life is worth it! Jesus gave His life so that your life could have meaning. An unbeliever has a purposeless life, but a child of God has been given a life – at the cost of Jesus – that can be so, so purposeful!

      In 1, 5, 10, 30, or 70 years, you can still be living with the joy of Christ and fulfilling his purpose for you! Just because you get older and towards the end of life doesn’t mean that your life will no longer have any worth – you will still be a redeemed child of God with a call and purpose from God!

      Here’s a prayer from Betty Stam which may encourage you: “Lord, I give up all my own plans and purpose, all my own desires and hopes and I accept Thy Will for my life. I give my life, myself, my all up totally to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt and work out Thy whole Will in my life at any cost now and forever.”

      Praying for you, Liz!

    • Em T

      Praying for you, Liz!
      Fill life with the things you love and make the choice to be less cynical than those certain people. To give up on life now would mean missing out on so much and taking a lot of stuff away from others and yourself.
      Serve Jesus! Seek Him.
      Fight the good fight.

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Oh, sweet friend. I am praying right now for the peace and joy of the Risen Savior to flood over your heart and mind.

      One of my favorite Christmas passages is Isaiah 9:1-2, “ But
      there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish…the people who walked in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.”

      Oh, yes, we who have placed our faith in Jesus once lived in
      great darkness. Gloom, hopelessness, purposelessness and anguish were all reality. That’s why Jesus came! That’s why we celebrate Christmas. Jesus took on our flesh and pierced through the darkness of this fallen world. He lived a perfect life. He died in our place. And He rose, Liz! He rose victorious over death and sin! And lives today interceding before the Father on our behalf.

      Gloom and anguish no longer have to characterize our lives! Purposeless waiting to die has no place in the life of a follower of Christ. Jesus came so we might live…abundantly ( John 10:10). Today. Our life here matters! You were created, by God, for a specific purpose (Eph. 2:10). Your life, your story, every detail of your life is an opportunity to bring great glory to the King of kings today!

      And we every day, sweet friend, we get to spend time with
      Jesus. We get to set at His feet and share our heart. We get to read His glorious Word. We get to experience His indescribable love that cares for us and shepherds us and directs our steps. There IS no greater joy, my friend! Oh, the joy Jesus brings to
      our lives today! Yes, our hearts long for eternity when we will be with Him face to face! But that very thing is what brings meaning into our daily lives.

      Take a look at this short video clip (http://www.desiringgod.org/books/dont-waste-your-life)
      and then set aside some time this weekend to read through this PDF of John Piper’s book, Don’t Waste Your Life

      May 2015 be a year marked by the grace, peace, and joy of
      Jesus in your life, Liz! Praying Eph. 3:14-21 for you tonight.

      Grace and peace,

  • Grace

    Wow I never really thought about this before! It’s really eye opening!
    I was wondering when you say 2015 is going to scare you, what do you mean? Like what is so scary about it??

  • Janet Alero

    Thanks so much for this post! It was really encouraging and what I needed to hear today! God bless you all in 2015!! Go class of 2015! 😀

  • Bess

    Thank you for this. I’m ready to be brave in the midst of the scary this 2015. I can hear Moriah Peter’s “Brave” & “Stand Strong” tunes playing in my head. With God, I can be courageous in this New Year!

  • Becca

    Thank you so much for this! Great post! I have a few scary things coming up in 2015:
    ~College campus visit
    ~sharing a hard truth with my best friend
    ~Spring Races for rowing
    ~Lambing season (When our sheep give birth), just making sure everyone stays healthy. We had our first boy lamb this morning! He’s sooo sweet!
    I’m gonna be trying my best to press into God’s strength and allow Him to help me have courage!

  • HZW

    This is a great post! I needed this as I step into the unknown in 2015.

  • Em T

    Thank you for this!
    Just gonna keep it close for the times when I feel afraid. 🙂

  • Samantha

    Thank you so much for this! Entering this year is especially frightening for me, but this helped a lot. Thank you!