Do you ever get a bit anxious when faced with something completely new?
Like how to find a new job in an economy that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before? Or how to navigate a world that’s turned upside-down?
Many of us shrink from the prospect of entering uncharted territory.
And we’re not the only ones: even some animals balk when confronted with something unfamiliar.
Cows are notorious for disliking disruptions to their routines and environments. They’re particularly averse to new gates. Cows are made so nervous by new entrances and openings that they’ll stubbornly resist going through them.
This trait is so well known that it’s given rise to the phrase, “like a cow looking at a new gate.” It means to view something with bewilderment and confusion, as though to say, “Are you serious? I’m not going through that.”
Do you feel this way when faced with the uncertainties that the new year may bring? Is fear of the unknown keeping you from stepping forward in faith to realize your dreams?
Fear has a way of paralyzing us, so that we stay stuck where we are instead of trying something new.
But we needn’t be afraid.
God will go through the gate ahead of us.
There’s a funny thing about cows and new gates: once the lead cow has gone through the gate, the rest of the cows will happily follow. They see that it’s okay, and they’re not scared anymore.
God knows that sometimes we’re like cows—we need a bit of reassurance that the way Ahead is safe.
That’s why the Bible is chock full of examples of God going ahead of His people to show them that there’s nothing to fear on the other side:
“Then Deborah said to Barak, “Get ready! This is the day the Lord will give you victory over Sisera, for the Lord is marching ahead of you.” So Barak led his 10,000 warriors down the slopes of Mount Tabor into battle.” (Judges 4:14 NLT)
“Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over ahead of you [leading the way] into the Jordan.” (Joshua 3:11 AMP)
“As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” (2 Samuel 5:24 NIV)
“The Lord your God himself will go before you and destroy the nations living there, so that you can occupy their land; and Joshua will be your leader, as the Lord has said.” (Deuteronomy 31:3 GNT)
These verses tell us that God doesn’t send us out alone into new territory. He’s not only with us when we enter the untravelled areas of our lives, He actually inhabits them before we get there.
So if you’re anxious about what the new year may hold, be assured that God has gone ahead of you. You don’t have to venture out into the unknown alone: simply join up with your Heavenly Father, who is already present in the unexplored regions of your future. With God as our vanguard, we can be assured that the way is safe.
This is not only true of a new year or new endeavour, it’s true of eternity as well. Jesus has gone ahead of us through the “gate” of death, so we don’t need to be afraid. He is the “first fruits” of those who will be raised from the dead. His resurrection is the guarantee that believers who have died will also be raised.
“But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.” (1 Corinthians 15:20 NLT)
Our loving Heavenly Father goes through gates ahead of us, to show us that the way is safe if we trust in Him.
So don’t be like a cow looking at a new gate: no matter what you may face in the future, God will be with you and will go ahead of you. You have nothing to be afraid of!
© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.