We are at the dawn of a new year. Before us, many yet to be answered questions loom on the horizon. Many in this country and around the world have endured difficult trials throughout 2020 and suffered heavy losses of loved ones, jobs, homes, and security that had previously been .taken for granted.

We do not know what to expect with a new Presidential Administration and further developments with COVID-19 treatments, vaccine administration, and national and state regulations and guidelines. Yet, the future is not entirely unknown. God is in control, and He has laid out in His Word an overview of His plan. Through the prophets, God foretold the coming of Jesus into the world, along with the saving works that He would perform. He foretold of Christ’s second coming and the end of this earth’s existence.

It does not matter what the details are regarding the events that unfold between now and God’s final judgment over His creation. God is in complete control of all things and orchestrates all things in accordance with His will.

Everything, not only on this planet but the entire created realm, is temporary. This world is a staging area that God is using to filter out any who reject Him. God created us for much more than this world can provide; an eternal relationship with Him.

But He will not force anyone to love Him. He wants us to choose to honor and serve Him, not because He is an egotistic despot, but because He knows that the life He can provide is better than anything we can accomplish on our own.

Nevertheless, the life that each of us lives here and now is frequently troublesome and disappointing. It is vitally important during trials that we remember that God is with us and in control, regardless of our situation and circumstances. It is not about making earthly life better, although sometimes that happens, but about preparation for the life to come. Eternity will cause any highs and lows from this phase of life, no matter how glorious or traumatic, to pale is comparison with either the glories of heaven in God’s presence or the torment in hell in His absence.

We cannot allow our triumphs and pleasures to eclipse God’s place in our lives. Nor can we permit ourselves to imagine that God is absent when we face trials and challenges, even if leading to the death of us or those we love.

Remind yourself frequently of the temporary nature of life, and avoid attachments to material gain. As you encounter challenges, take to heart this admonition from Joshua, and live for eternal rewards.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 ESV

Sometimes this is difficult to do, and you feel torn down and beaten. When you struggle to muster sustaining strength, ask God to lift you up, and rely on His power.

“…it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6b ESV

Those who choose life in Christ can look forward to an eternity of complete satisfaction with no pain, suffering, or otherwise uncomfortable trials. But for those who reject Christ as Lord and Savior, this life is the best to which he or she can aspire, temporary as it is. Eternity beyond his or her earthly existence will consist of never-ending torment that far exceeds the worst suffering imaginable here on earth.

As we embark on a new year, I challenge you to look beyond circumstances and focus your vision on Christ and His eternal kingdom and rule. He will help you to endure whatever trials that you encounter. So far as you are able, seek the welfare of others and reap eternal rewards. Do not worry about your future, but take each day as it comes. one day at a time. Above all, maintain an attitude of thankfulness for even the small blessings God brings into you your life.

I realize that this may be easier said than done, as many of you may be worse off than I am as we enter 2021, but God knows what you are going through and can supply any need. What we need and what we want, however, are frequently misunderstood. He will always use us and our circumstances according to His overarching purpose. We cannot forget that life is not ultimately about the present but our future eternal destination, and He may be using your situation and the attitude that you display for a greater purpose than you can imagine..

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV

Be strong and courageous and thank God for each and every day, no matter how it unfolds. God is in control.

This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 ESV

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.