Most of us would prefer not to re-live years like 2020, 2021 and 2022. For the first time in our lives, we experienced our world coming to a screeching halt. Our schedules changing, jobs being taken away, large amounts of time spent away from loved ones or for some of us saying goodbye to a loved one. Racism exposed. Political unrest and in 2022 runaway inflation.
The years 2020, 2021 and 2022 were years we didn’t expect and when they came, most of us didn’t know how to handle such chaos. We can only pray that 2023 will be better.
But what if 2023 is a carbon copy of of those years or heaven forbid even worse?
We can grumble, complain, and worry about "what-if", or we can say like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, "even-if".
Daniel 3:16-18 NLT Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (emphasis mine)
God did rescue them that day. But can you imagine the trust these three men had to have in God?
God is the same in 2023 that he was then.
It’s knowing and believing in God, trusting Him in every situation even if He doesn’t change the chaotic circumstances, we lived through in the past three years and are still living at the beginning of 2023.
When we look at things with an "even-if" view it's like saying to yourself:
- I know God can find our family a job, but even if He doesn’t…
- I know God can remove the coronavirus, but even if He doesn’t…
- I know that God can heal my broken relationship, but even if He doesn’t…
- I know that God can heal me, but even if He doesn't….
Let’s have the same kind of faith in 2023 that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had when they faced the fiery furnace. No matter what we face in 2023, all the unknowns, all the "what-ifs" we know our God is faithful and we know He is sovereign. We know He can answer all our prayers, but "even-if" doesn’t, we will still worship and trust in Him and Him alone.
Even in the midst of our current chaos, let’s look at 3 ways we can stay strong:
1. Live with a Kingdom Perspective
Having a Kingdom perspective is found in who not what you are believing in.
Are you believing in the news, or our government, or a vaccine right now? Or are you believing in the Creator of it all and standing on the promise of who He is?
Remember, God never changes, even though the world around us does.
Hebrews 13:8 NLT Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
2. Fix Your Focus
In 2020 and 2021 most of us spent too much time focused on the news with the latest on the pandemic, racial tensions, police brutality or political headlines. These things are really important, but we need to make some adjustments to our focus in 2022.
Colossians 3:1-4 NLT Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. (emphasis mine)
3. Build Your Life On The Solid Rock
Walking with the Lord doesn’t make us exempt from chaos. But we have an anchor.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
We have no idea what 2022 will look like, but one thing we know is that we can put our hope and trust in the Lord.
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.