By Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson
A new year offers a fresh start, a new beginning. It is often a time of reflection on the past and a look into the future—hoping for a better year ahead. Yet, unless we begin with God, the Author of new beginnings, we have little chance of success. In his word, He has given us a precious promise:
“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).
God, the Creator, is the author of new beginnings. He can make a way when there seems to be none.
A key moment in the history of Israel illustrates this point powerfully. In Exodus 14 we find the Israelites in a seemingly impossible dilemma. They thought they had left slavery behind, but as they camped by the Red Sea, the flash of armor and the fast-moving Egyptian chariots in the distance brought fear to their hearts. “It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness” (Ex. 14:12), they screamed at Moses.
They had nowhere to go, with the Red Sea on one side, rugged mountains on the other, and their oppressors closing in from behind. They had forgotten it was God, in the form of a cloudy pillar by day and fire by night (see Ex. 13:21) who had led them to that very place.
No Fear of Consequences
Moses, however, hadn’t forgotten. He “was greatly troubled that his people should manifest so little faith in God, notwithstanding they had repeatedly witnessed the manifestation of His power in their behalf. . . . True, there was no possibility of deliverance unless God Himself should interpose for their release; but having been brought into this position in obedience to the divine direction, Moses felt no fear of the consequences. His calm and assuring reply to the people was, ‘Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace’”1(Ex. 14:13,14).
Moses wasn’t afraid because he knew they were in that place because they had followed God’s directions. He obeyed God, left the consequences with Him, and God delivered in a mighty way!
The same can still be true for us as individuals and as God’s church today. While we remain faithful to God and His revealed will through Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy, we need not fear any consequence; we will be in His hands and He will show us a way through every difficulty.
The passage in Isaiah 43, from which the promise in verse 19 (quoted earlier) comes, hearkens back to God as Creator, Redeemer, and Deliverer, and specifically mentions the deliverance at the Red Sea as an indication of God’s might and power to deliver today:
“‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.’ . . .
“Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea
And a path through the mighty waters,
Who brings forth the chariot and horse,
The army and the power
(They shall lie down together, they shall not rise;
They are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick):
‘Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert’”(vss. 1, 2a; 16-19).
We don’t need to fear the journey, for this passage is filled with promise. It reminds us
of the mighty work He performed at the Red Sea, and encourages us to look forward to His mighty work in us.
At the beginning of this new year, I invite you to follow God’s leading and in faith and confidence, go forward in Him. Let us take to heart this familiar quote, followed by a reminder of what God calls us to do:
“We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.
“We are now a strong people, if we will put our trust in the Lord; for we are handling the mighty truths of the word of God. We have everything to be thankful for. If we walk in the light as it shines upon us from the living oracles of God, we shall have large responsibilities, corresponding to the great light given us of God. We have many duties to perform, because we have been made the depositaries of sacred truth to be given to the world in all its beauty and glory. We are debtors to God to use every advantage He has entrusted to us to beautify the truth by holiness of character, and to send the messages of warning, and of comfort, of hope and love, to those who are in the darkness of error and sin.”2
Brothers and Sisters, Jesus is coming very soon. Are you right with Him? If not, now is the time to claim the promise, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Are you discouraged? Look “to the place where you last saw the light,”3 remembering that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
Then go forward in faith and courage, in Total Member Involvement, sharing God’s love and proclaiming to the world that Jesus is coming soon! Maranatha!
Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson is president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. You may follow him on Twitter: @pastortedwilson and on Facebook: @PastorTedWilson.
This article was originally published in the January 18 issue of Adventist World magazine, www.adventistworld.org/no-fear-going-forward/