Overcoming my Fear for the New Year
Do you ever have times when you know you are processing something in your mind but you can’t quite grasp what? There has been an unsettling in my spirit about the new year that I haven’t been able to put my finger on but has manifested in a holding back.
When I think about my life and our ministry in Peru, I want to see God do everything He wants to do through us. But present in my heart is also a fear and resistance which says something like:
‘But if I believe God for big things, there are going to be lots of nasty surprises and many discomforts. And I don’t want them - they are unsettling and upsetting. So maybe I’ll just settle for a life that is moving forward, but not too miraculous. A few miracles, a few breakthroughs, but nothing too dramatic. I will believe a bit but not too much and then it won’t get too rocky perhaps.’
Yuck! What mediocracy! Surely I should want EVERYTHING that God desires for my life and the lives of others?! Surely I should believe and trust God for the future? But when I look at my life and the lives of others who see ongoing breakthrough in their lives, I see uncomfortable opposition at best and devastating failure at worst. Yep. Of course that says more about me (and them!) and what I am focusing on rather than about who God really is! I look at humanity and am surprised when I see… humanity. I fail to look at God and am surprised when I fail to see…God.
Jabez. He is my hero right now. He put into words exactly what I had been failing to express about the new year and new seasons. I was reading his prayer found in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 and thinking it over:
‘O Lord, that you would bless me indeed and enlarge my border,
That Your hand would go with me and keep me from harm,
That it may not pain me’
And God’s response?: God granted Him all that he requested.
Jabez’ prayer had always upset me and irked me. What extravagant selfishness to pray for blessing like that! What presumptuousness!
But as I go into the new year, I realize that that prayer was a prayer of faith and maybe desperation! Isn’t his prayer what we all should desire? Lord, bless us so we can bless others! Do more this year than last year - may our capacity be increased to hold more of You!
I see Jabez wondering the same things I wonder about… Am I destined for pain for the whole of this life? It seemed sealed for Jabez - he was even named ‘Pain’! Is every breakthrough going to be returned by pain? Will every ministry breakthrough be proceeded with the loss of property, children and relationships? Will persecution be at our heels?
Jabez’ prayer wasn’t a prayer for selfish prosperity. It was a humble heart-felt desire to live his life to the full - that he would not be held back by fear of pain from receiving the blessings God had for him. He knew to contain those blessings his capacity had to increase. He also knew that blessings often came at a price. New land and new resources often required passing through battles. But that would be fine if God went with him through the struggles. That would be no problem if God would protect him from harm during the battle. He could enter into those blessings with confidence if he knew what the enemy meant for harm would not bring enduring pain.
And my desire too is that I would not be held back this year by fear of pain. That I wouldn’t fear the storms, but instead be confident that when they come God’s hand will be over my life throughout them. That I will come out victorious and not in pain.
So that is my prayer for the new year, taken from Jabez’ mouth:
Lord, bless me this year so I can be a blessing to others.
Increase my capacity so I can hold your blessing and administer it well,
And as I pass through difficulties may I see and feel Your hand surrounding me through it,
May You keep me from the harm the enemy means by it,
So that whatever the struggles this year, I will look back and see not pain, but victory!
And I am believing God will grant my request.
Praying that you can all embrace the blessings God has for you this year.
I'm on holiday right now for a few weeks so my blogging will probably be more sporadic, but looking forward to sharing more over the next year!