A new year is dawning and it feels like every year over Christmas and New Year brings more and more problems. Between the natural disasters (Tsunami / storms / floods), plane crashes, terrorist attacks and threats of terror we also have a president making silly remarks like ‘if the white man in the form of Jan van Riebeeck did not arrive on our shores in 1652 there would have been much less trouble in our country’.
All of this creates an uncertainty in one’s heart and I often catch myself worrying about the future (again!) and especially the year ahead. Our family usually enjoys our annual December vacation down in the Cape. I use the time to spend not only quality time with Anita, our children and grandchildren but also time with the Lord. Every December God reminds me to banish fear from my heart and that I have to guard my thoughts!
That the only thing I have to fear is fear itself. This quote is from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inaugural address from 1933 during which he said “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
The historical context is the great depression. Roosevelt was warning against the kind of fear that paralyzes the population and prevents individuals from making positive steps to extricate themselves from a bad situation. What he was saying is: Go out and spend some money… go to a movie, buy some ice cream, give a friend a job, help your neighbour. Don’t let fear force you to hide in the corner doing nothing; this will not help you or the economy. (J Seligmann)
I usually ask the Lord in December for a verse of encouragement for the year ahead.
- For 2012 and 2013 God gave me the same verses from John 14:1 + 27 where Jesus said “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me”. V27(b) “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
- For 2014 the Lord led me to Isaiah 29:11+14 and 18. “For this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll.” V14 “Therefore, once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder.” V18 “In that day the deaf will hear…” Never have I seen God’s hand move like the past year (2014) … seeing wonder upon wonder, just as He has promised.
- And for 2015?
Early morning on the 25th December 2014 I was sitting outside our home having my quiet time. I again asked the Lord for a verse of encouragement for 2015 and nothing ‘happened’. I finished my quiet time, picked up my mobile phone and saw that a message arrived in the early morning hours from Johann Havenga. Johann prays daily for our family, the school and our businesses. This is what the message said: ‘Take this Word Habakkuk 1:5 and make it your own as this is what I feel the Lord is giving through me now at 04:14 to you. Nico, embrace this Scripture and take it into the New Year because 2015 is going to be the best year ever! This word is yours! Please record it! GBU Johann’. God knew that I would ask Him for a word of encouragement that morning and He provided even BEFORE I asked!!! What a mighty God we serve!
Habakkuk 1:5 says “Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” (NIV) The Life Application Bible says The Lord replied: “Look, and be amazed! You will be astounded at what I am about to do! For I am going to do something in your own lifetime that you will have to see to believe.” Can God really do this for me?
This verse was given to me numerous times concerning the Eduplex as an encouragement or when difficult decisions had to be taken – in 2002 during the opening of the pre-school; in March 2004; by Anita in 2010 regarding the Second Campus and now again for 2015, but this time there seems to be an urgency around it. Yes if I look back I stand amazed at what God has done in my life the past 12 years, the numerous miracles in the Eduplex and in our company… but can or will He do it again in the future?
While lying on my bed on 31st of December I checked my emails. There was an email from Leré Robinson now living in the USA. Leré and her husband Eddie had their children in the Eduplex many years ago and she has been a wonderful prayer warrior for the school and our family. She said she felt the Lord’s word for me for 2015 is from Ephesians 3:20 “Now glory be to God who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more that we could ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” WOW!
I started thinking about the verse God gave me earlier in the year from Isaiah 43 and slowly the puzzle was beginning to take shape. All the verses said the same thing …
Is. 43:18+19 “Forget the former things – it is nothing compared to what I’m going to do!” V19 “See, I have already begun! Don’t you see it? I will make a road through the wilderness…and create rivers in the desert.”
Hab 1:5 “… for I am going to do something that you will have to see to believe…”
And Nico, just in case you think I can’t do it I want to remind you …
Ef. 3:20 “…I can do far more than we could ever dare to ask – infinitely beyond…”
Gone is the fear and worry about the future! All I need to do is trust and believe in God’s promises! I also believe that these verses are not just for me, the school or our family but for our country and every person reading this blog as an encouragement for the year ahead. Let’s take Roosevelt’s advice and not let our fears paralyze us into retreat but let us convert them into advance – trusting God to make the road, to show us the rivers in the desert and to do far more than we could ever dare to ask … yes, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes.
May God bless you richly not only in 2015 but in the years to come and let us trust in the only One worth trusting, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. “Don’t you see it? I have already begun…”