Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria.

My dad and I loved hunting together in the woods of my childhood state, Pennsylvania. I have many cherished memories of scouring the forest, looking for animals on cold winter days.

There’s one hunting expedition I’ll never forget. I was 15 years old and got lost in the woods. And it wasn’t a small patch of woods but the 517,000-acre Allegheny National Forest.

The darker it got, the more scared I became. And the more careful I was about every decision. I was thankful that my dad had given me a compass and taught me how to use it.

I knew if I would keep going the right direction I’d eventually find my way back. Thankfully I did. A few hours later, I was in the car and out of that 20-degree weather.

We’ve all experienced that overwhelming feeling of being lost, not in the woods, but in life. We’ve felt the frustration of a lack of direction, purpose or awareness.

The good news is God promises to guide us into life’s best paths. And he’s given us something greater than a compass to guide us.

God gives us his word to give wisdom, faith communities to provide encouragement and the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us every step of the way.

Regardless of where we are today, treasuring God’s guidance will lead to a rich and rewarding life.

We see this proven in Abraham’s life — a man God calls the father of our faith. The scriptures say that God told Abraham to leave his country, people and home and go to the land he would show him. It was God’s plan to make Abraham into a great nation and to bless him abundantly. But Abraham had to follow.

What does it take to move forward in the midst of life’s uncertainties?

Trust enough to leave the past behind.

Abraham lived in Haran, a wealthy and thriving city. Abraham was surrounded by family and friends. But Abraham was willing to leave the familiar to follow God’s path. We often have to do the same. Both pleasure and pain can keep us in our past. Moving into our future requires a focus that leaves the past behind.

Allow God’s strength to eliminate our stress.

Abraham’s journey was not without difficulty or personal weakness and failure. But instead of allowing his heart to become heavy, Abraham developed a new habit. Scripture says he would build an altar and call on the name of the Lord. Negative emotions can cloud our perspective and keep us weak. That’s why we have to learn to rely on his strength through prayer to overcome our lack of talent or resources.

Live with a warrior’s will.

Abraham learned to fasten his heart on God in the midst of every battle. It resulted in a deep trust and confidence in God’s faithfulness. God has everything we need to get through life’s ups and downs. As we seek him daily and live connected to God’s family, we’ll experience the wonder of his work. Let’s make 2021 a year of God-empowered progress.

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Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. Visit myffc.com.

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