I pause to start, and I start only to pause.
I'm not sure about you, but nowhere, in any of my "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" vision boards or plans, did a pandemic get scheduled in. It's been some of the most painful years to live through.
We've lost so many family members and very close friends that our hearts have hardly been given time to heal, and now, another year starts – a year I don't think I'm ready for.
That is strange because every year one almost looks forward, with excitement and expectation, to good things. Sadly, these past few years have been filled with so much loss and grief that you almost question yourself, insult your own intuition, even ... You thought you heard God but why didn't you see all the grief and pain that was coming to you? (just a snippet of internal thoughts that have plagued me).
For the past few years, we've taken a moment to banner the year with a word of faith. We declare it over our circumstances and situations:
“Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert…” (Isaiah 43:19; NKJV – my emphasis added).
The year we declared this scripture over our family, we lost my mother-in-law and my husband’s nan-nan in the same year. The new miracle of that year was it brought us closer together as a family, closer than we have been in years.
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed, that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13; NKJV – my emphasis added).
The year we declared this scripture over our family, we lost our closest, most loved best friend. It was truly challenging to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, and it continues to hurt when we think of him and miss him intensely. I say “intensely” because we look at his young boys growing up to be young men, and we see the visible pain that his wife is still wrestling with. But I feel it may be because we are stuck in the lost heart part of the scripture, and are slowly growing back in our faith, to finally blossom at some moment into the goodness of life part (because, we can agree, it doesn’t all happen at once, nor at a rapid pace).
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10; NKJV – my emphasis added).
Upon reflection, I looked again at the words we had heard and lived by, and honestly was blessed by God, yet again (is it not funny how we are surprised at His goodness and His faithfulness?). There is abundant life that is ours when we reign in life with Jesus, surrendering our plans to His plans, and knowing He has the best outcome for us all. “Resolve”, as a verb, means “to settle.” Settle in Jesus this year.
When I look at the past few years, yes, there has indeed been a desert and a dry wilderness – but God.…
I did lose heart. That is my confession, and I had to choose, resolve, settle, to believe, that I would see God move….and He did. Whenever I saw death take another loved one, I had to constantly remind myself that Jesus, God Himself, had already come to give back a life to us that is eternal, and for those of us left behind on earth, a life that is more abundant that we would not have had if He had chosen never to come….
Think about that! If Jesus had chosen never to come save us, where would we truly be?
But God… His love for us is far greater than we can fully comprehend, and it only promises to continue, on and on and on. Never-ending. Never-failing.
So, now, as I look upon a new year, I have chosen to surrender myself to the constant truth that God is indeed good; He is indeed honest to His word. He will never fail me. He will never leave me, He will never stop walking by my side and He will never withhold anything good from me. How much more does He have in store for me all the days of my life on earth?
So, until Jesus gets here to take us all home (because, silently, that is sometimes how we pray through rough seasons) let’s remember this: if you find yourself in a desert, He promises to make a river run in that dry, barren place. If the road is treacherous and filled with ups and downs, be reminded that He makes our paths straight.
If life is looking bleak and you have lost heart, take a deep breath and surrender, reminding yourself that Jesus is good and because you believe in Him, His goodness will show up in your life. It will show up because you are living, but more because He is faithful. When life feels like you are being robbed of joy, and peace is being stolen, that destruction has devastated you, listen, look up and know that Jesus HAS COME and, because of everything He has done, you can have life and not just mere surviving every day. You can have a life that has more abundance in it. There is healing when we change our focus.
I pray that 2023 will be more abundant for you, that nothing that comes up against you to keep you down will win, because we know Jesus has given you a life that is worth living. You can fall IN God’s hands, but you can NEVER fall OUT of His hands. Your name is engraved on the palms of His hands. NOBODY can take you from His hands.