“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32
There is almost always a question behind our question. Further, that question behind our question is almost always a question about God masquerading as a practical question.
Okay, here’s how that works:
We might have some anxious questions about our job outlook in the new year. The front-of-mind question is very practical: “Will I have a job this year?” But, for the Christian, the question behind the question is theological in nature: “Can I really trust God to provide for my needs?”
Another example: The front-of-mind, the practical question is this: “Am I ever going to find someone I love and get married?” The question behind the question might be something like, “Is my relationship with Jesus really going to be enough for me to be joyful and satisfied in my life?”
None of this invalidates our front-of-mind questions. Those are practical questions that need to be answered. But it does help us to see the condition of our hearts – to think about what misshapen beliefs are really driving our questions (and anxiety) about the future.
So, circling back to the beginning here’s the big, broad question about the twelve months ahead of us:
What should I expect in the new year?
Paul answers this for us in Romans 8, where he reminds us of some great and glorious things:
- There is no condemnation for the Christian.
- The Spirit lives within us.
- We are the adopted children of God.
- As such, we are co-heirs with Christ.
- The Spirit intercedes for us.
- God is working all things for our good.
Those realities led to Paul’s rhetorical question: “What shall we say in response to these things?”
He then drew the inescapable conclusion that if God is for us, who is against us?
Paul’s argument is simple: God has already given us the most precious, the most valuable, the dearest thing He ever could – the life of His Son, Jesus. In light of that gift, it would be ludicrous for us to think He would not also give us the rest of these blessings.
After all, what are all the rest of these things in comparison to the life of His Son?
This is the battle cry against anxiety. It’s not that “things will work out” or “what’s the worst that could happen?” It’s not even making contingency plans and preparing for every conceivable eventuality.
The answer to the question of what we can expect in the new year is this – that God will take care of our practical questions and needs. And He will do it in the way He sees fit in His wisdom, given that He has already given us the life of His Son.
What more can we possibly ask?
Written by Michael Kelley, Guest Contributor
To read more of Michael’s writing, check out his daily blog, Forward Progress http://michaelkelley.co/