“Take your umbrella – it may rain!” Most of us have heard a parent or spouse say that as we were on our way out the door. As a student, I sometimes ignored my mother when she suggested I take a jacket with me to school; only to wish I had listened to her later. Whether or not we were Boy Scouts, we all know we should “be prepared.”
Entering into a New Year is a wonderful time to ensure that we do our best to prepare for the opportunities and challenges that await us. Planning and preparation is simply smart. Presuming is simply, well…stupid.
God expects us to use the wisdom, knowledge, and common sense He has given us. But to presume we can predict or control the future by our preparation is foolish. Solomon wrote, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Pr. 27:1 NIV).
So without presuming, let’s suppose that God allows us to live another year; what can we do to ensure that we make the most of it? Prepare for the best!
There is no doubt that God loves us and wants only the very best for us. Since His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Is. 55:9) we may be very surprised by what God does. Whatever happens, we may rest assured that He is in control and will cause everything to work together for good to those who truly love and follow Him (Ro. 8:28). Notice that Scripture doesn’t teach that everything that happens to us will be good; only that God will cause the results to be good.
You may only expect the best when you prepare for the best!
You have heard it said, “Expect the best, but prepare for the worst.” May I suggest that you may only expect the best when you prepare for the best! Ask yourself, “If I knew that I could accomplish anything this year, what would it be?”
Now, run your desires through the “filter” of Scripture. Jesus said, “If you abide in Me and my words abide in you, you will ask what you will and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). The key, of course, is an intimate relationship with Christ and a thorough knowledge of and belief in His word – the Bible. When we have an ongoing relationship with Christ and we are continually growing to know Him as He reveals Himself to us in His word we may confidently bring our requests to God knowing we are within His will.
Now, how will you practically prepare for God’s best? First, by knowing Him and His plan. There is no question that God is working in our world today. As Henry Blackaby has described in his watershed book, Experiencing God, He is working to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways. God has a plan. God has an agenda. Amazingly, He wants us to join Him in His work! He wants to use you for His glory in ways that you cannot imagine!
This New Year you will have opportunities to join Him in His work of encouraging, teaching, serving, giving and even helping others to know Christ personally. Will you be prepared?
Please pause and consider this fact: you cannot expect God’s best until you are His. He does not have favorites, but He does have “intimates.” He created you for Himself.
Will you admit that you need Him? Will you believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, personally died for your wrongs and rose from the dead to make a way for you to have a real and personal relationship with God? It’s incredible that God loves us so much that He will forgive anyone of anything if we will simply trust Him, call out, and surrender to Him!
You could be made new in this New Year! God specializes in creating, changing, forgiving, healing, loving, and restoring. He only wants the best for us and the truth is – HE is the Best for us!
Determine that with His help you will not miss Him and His best this year by receiving the “gift of God [that] is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Ro.6:23b).
No one knows what the future holds, but we can know Who holds the future! He promised, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb. 13:5)!
Resolve to seek Him, trust Him, know Him, and follow Him everyday this year. Then you can expect the best!