January 1, 2024

Facing Your Future With Assurance

An invitation to embrace the unknown

Hensley M. Moorooven

Most psychologists agree that focusing too much on the past can lead to depression, focusing too much on the present often triggers stress, and concentrating too much on the future may provoke anxiety.

We are entering a new year, standing at the threshold of uncharted territory. Throughout the past year we have traversed many roads, faced countless trials, and experienced moments of triumph and despair. As we embark on a new year, we must acknowledge that this journey carries with it an air of uncertainty, an invitation to embrace the unknown. Amid this situation of uncertainty, we know the Lord will be with us, so we face our future with assurance rather than anxiety.

Crossing the Jordan

When the Israelites prepared to cross the river Jordan to take possession of the Promised Land, they faced uncertainty and challenges. We too face the unknown as we begin 2024. Like them, we “have never been this way before” (Joshua 3:4, NIV). The year 2024 holds mysteries yet to be unraveled and challenges yet to be overcome. How do we face a situation that we have never encountered before? The timeless wisdom found in God’s Word provides us with valuable insights on how to face our future with assurance, as the Israelites did.

Here are three lessons to remember about our all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-wise God as we face 2024 with assurance.

The God Who Was With Us YESTERDAY

Whenever you face a situation that you have never encountered before, remember that the Lord your God was with you yesterday. “You shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness” (Deut. 8:2).

You likely already know that the Lord cared for His people for 40 years in the wilderness! Maybe therein lies the challenge! We have come across this information so often that it has lost its full meaning. I have taken some time to process this information anew. Let me share with you what I found.

How do you supply such a crowd with food and water in the wilderness? Some Bible commentators believe that approximately 2.6 million people left Egypt for the Promised Land. To survive one day in the desert, one would require about 3 gallons (11 liters) of water for hydration, food preparation, and hygiene.

Therefore, 2.6 million people would require 7.8 million gallons of water for one day in the desert. How do you convey to a single spot 7.8 million gallons of water? They could not just open a tap. In the United States the largest tanker (with a trailer) carries up to 11,600 gallons of liquid. To transport 7.8 million gallons of water would require 673 of these tankers per day. The average tanker is 42 feet long; 673 tankers would cover 5.4 miles!

Yet God gave His people water for 40 years in the wilderness without requiring a single truck, for the Bible declares that water gushed out of the rock. Whenever you encounter a situation that you have never walked through, remember that the Lord your God was with you yesterday.

Let’s ponder a minute on food. To feed a crowd of 2.6 million people, you would require approximately 1,600 tons of food per meal. How do you convey to a single spot 1,600 tons of food? They didn’t have any grocery stores or Instacart in the wilderness. Doing so would require two trains a mile long each, per meal. God, however, gave His people food for 40 years in the wilderness without requiring a single wagon, for the Bible declares that food came down from heaven!

Another important component of their sojourn was the pillars of cloud and fire. Imagine the scene: a vast desert, a multitude of people, uncertain terrain, and an uncharted path ahead. Amid this uncertainty, God provided a visible manifestation of His presence—a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

The pillar of cloud served as a GPS for the Israelites. As it revealed the path to follow, it also provided shade from the scorching sun. It was a clear indication that God was with them every step of the way. Similarly, the pillar of fire illuminated their way by night. Apart from that, in the desert, where temperatures plummet during the night because of the poor heat-retaining properties of the sand, the children of Israel found a source of warmth and comfort in the pillar of fire.

When you face a situation that you have never encountered, remember that the Lord your God was with you yesterday.

The God Who Is With You TODAY

We do not serve a God of only yesterday. The past is but a place of learning, not a place of living. We face real challenges now.

In Joshua 3:7 “the Lord said to Joshua, ‘This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.’ ” Remember that the Lord your God is with you today!

Why do you worry? The Lord who was with you yesterday is also with you today!

Some of us are chronic worriers. If worry were an Olympic discipline, we would be gold medalists. Yet Ellen G. White reminds us: “Worry is blind and cannot discern the future. But Jesus sees the end from the beginning.”*

I have two definitions of worry that I cherish:

Worry is looking into the future without God in the picture.

Worry is the dark room where negatives
are developed.

Our problem is not our problem; it is the way we look at it. Our challenge is not our challenge; it is the way we apprehend it. Let’s train our eyes to see our challenges through the lens of God’s sovereignty and stop worrying!

Whatever the uncertainties that 2024 brings along, remember that God is with us today. Whenever you encounter a situation you have never experienced, remember that God was with you yesterday and He is with you today!

But we don’t need only a God of yesterday and today—we need a God who also cares about our tomorrows.

The God Who Will Be With You TOMORROW

I love the Word of God! I firmly believe that the Bible doesn’t need to be rewritten, but only needs to be reread. Let’s reread Joshua 3:5. Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you” (NIV).

Whenever you encounter a situation you have never experienced, remember that God will be with you tomorrow! Not only will God be with you tomorrow; He will also perform wonders in your life tomorrow.

Yet, according to Joshua 3:5, this promise comes with a requirement: “Consecrate yourselves.” This call to consecration rings true for us as we enter a new year. To face the future with assurance, we must set ourselves apart for God’s purpose and dedicate our hearts and minds to Him. As we enter 2024, let us remember that our first step toward assurance is drawing near to God and growing as disciples through a daily relationship with Him that results in spiritual growth based on personal prayer, Bible study, and applying the divinely inspired instructions of the Spirit of Prophecy.

Whatever the uncertainties that 2024 brings, remember that God was with you yesterday! He is with you today! And He will perform miracles for you tomorrow.

Whatever you are going through, there is no need to be depressed about the past, because God was with you yesterday; no need to be stressed about the present, because He is with you today; and no need to be anxious about the future, for He will perform wonders in your life tomorrow.

As we enter this new year, we might encounter personal upheaval, relational challenges, financial stresses, family transitions, and career disappointments. Remember these words of encouragement from God’s Word:

He was with you yesterday (Deut. 8:2).

He is with you today (Joshua 3:7).

He will perform miracles for you tomorrow (Joshua 3:5).

In conclusion, let’s remember that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). God never changes, and His promises are true. So we can face our future with assurance. With God our past is redeemed, our present makes sense, and our future is secure.

Whatever challenges you are navigating, I pray this devotional will help you remain grounded in the unchanging truth of God’s Word. Root yourself in Scripture and remember the hope you have in God—no matter your circumstances.

* Ellen G. White, Christian Leadership (Washington, D.C.: Ellen G. White Estate, 1985), p. 77.