God tells His people, over and over, to be courageous. Eastern Hills, we are on the cusp of a new year, and no one knows what it will hold. I can tell you this, whatever the year brings, life or death, feast or famine, prosperity or ruin, we, the church must stand courageously. We are commanded to do so.
When Moses died, Joshua had the responsibility of leading the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land to fight impossible armies. What did God command him? “Be strong and courageous” (Josh. 1:9). When David was preparing to hand over his kingdom to his son, Solomon, and to entrust him with the building of the temple, the earthly dwelling place for God, how did he comfort him? “Be strong and courageous” (1 Chron. 28:20). When Paul was preparing to risk his life and testify about Christ before Roman officials, what did Jesus say to strengthen him? “Take courage” (Acts 23:11). This same message echoes through all the pages of Scripture from the Law and Prophets, to the Old Testament writings, to the Gospels, and the New Testament letters. Leaders, prophets, kings, disciples, and ordinary Christians, then and now, have all been called to steel their resolve, look boldly into the future, and be strong and courageous. This means you, Christian, take courage!
But you’ve seen some of the horrors a year can hold. You’ve seen the instability of a country, an economy, an immune system, so easily tipped toward disaster. How will you stand courageously, knowing what you know about the fragile human condition? I’ll tell you how. You will stand courageously because you know who stands with you. As Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land God told him, “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9). God told the Israelites He would “not leave [them] or forsake [them]” (Deut. 31:8). David reminded Solomon that God “is with you” (1 Chron. 28:20). And Paul knew all too well that “[Nothing] in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39). To all who belong to Christ, this promise of courage belongs to you. The author of Hebrews reminds YOU “[God] will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). The Lord Jesus Christ stands with you!
So, what do we do, Eastern Hills? We greet 2021 with full courage. We charge forward, knowing the eternal, imperishable Christ stands with His church, with us, with you. Let us take courage and continue in our mission to follow God, reach people, and teach others to do the same. To our eternal God be the glory, in Christ Jesus our Lord, we stand courageously!