Map of Norwegian coast, 1539. Public Domain.

Have you ever seen antique maps with the ominous words, “Here Be Dragons” written across the uncharted regions, or with drawings of sea monsters lying in wait in the menacing oceans?

Heading into a new year, do you feel like you’re entering into unmapped territory in your own life? Do you worry there may be “dragons” lurking ahead for you in 2020?

It’s normal to feel a bit of trepidation when faced with something unfamiliar in our lives. Maybe you’re unexpectedly having to look for a job this year, or have just received some unwelcome news about your health. Perhaps you’re facing a move to a new city, or you find yourself alone for the first time in decades after a relationship has ended. It might almost feel like you’ve landed in a foreign country.

The good news is that believers in God don’t need to be afraid when entering uncharted territory in life. Even when we find ourselves “at sea,” perplexed by our circumstances and far from familiar landmarks, God is still there:

“If I take the wings of the morning,
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:9-10)

God promises that He’ll always be with us, no matter what we’re going through. In fact, Scripture tells us that God will be our vanguard:

Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Photo by Christian Barrette on Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

God is also our rearguard. He goes behind us, steering us in the right direction:

“If you wander off the road to the right or the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying, ‘Here is the road. Follow it.’ ” (Isaiah 30:21)

If God goes both before us and behind us, it means He’s got us covered. He knows what lies ahead of us in this new year, and promises to be with us and to guide us.

And what about the greatest unknown we all face, the “dragon” of death? Even there, believers in Jesus need not fear, because He has gone ahead to prepare a place for us after we die. In John 14:2 Jesus says,

“There are many homes up there where my Father lives, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so that you can always be with me where I am. If this weren’t so, I would tell you plainly.”

So there is really no uncharted territory for the Christian. We need fear no “dragons,” in life or in death. God has our lives all mapped out.

No matter where we find ourselves in 2020, it’s reassuring to know that our map says, “Jesus Is Here.” That makes it a truly happy New Year!

© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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