What a year it has been!!
2017, for me, has been one of those years where I now gratefully grab a chair, wipe the sweat off my brow and say
“Thank you, Jesus! You brought me through!”
There were seasons of trials that came hard and furious. In those times I’ve had to stay anchored by faith, hope and trust. But there has also been other moments, moments filled with joy! And I have had the privilege of experiencing God’s amazing grace and divine providence. For this I am extremely grateful.
How about you?
What kind of year has it been for you?
Even as I ask, I am reminded of my post a few months ago on Walking through the seasons of life. If you are interested you can refresh your memory by reading it here.
But I want to reiterate that our lives all have different seasons. God has a plan and purpose for everything, including the trials or difficult circumstances, he allow in our life. So it could be that some of us have been experiencing the transition of autumn, uncertain of what the future holds. Others may have gone through the challenge of harsh wintry trials. Still, some might have felt the sharp edges of the pruning shears of spring, while others enjoyed the pleasurable blessings of summer. Regardless of which, our season may still be in full swing even as 2017 rolled to an end.
Reflect and review
If you are like the many millions of people around the world, myself included, you probably spent the final hours of 2017 in re-wind, reflecting on the events of your own life this past year.
It is the time when we re-evaluate our personal, spiritual and professional life and ponder on what, if anything, we could or would have done differently. The start of a new year is usually taken as an opportunity to make changes or adjustments to our life. We make decisions to let go of the negative or reach for that which improves or enhances. A decision that could very well impact the outcome of whatever season we are in.
My family and I walked into a popular retail store a couple of days after Christmas. We found the Christmas trees and decorations were replaced by treadmills and other exercise gear. An excellent marketing strategy, since many consumers will mark the beginning of the new year with one of the most popular resolutions. Losing weight and getting fit. So they purpose to eat less carbs, exercise more and spend less time in front of the television set.
We make plans and we set goals.
Looking back while looking ahead
As we reflect, some of us will look back with fondness and enjoy the wonderful memories created and the accomplishments that were attained. It may have been a job promotion, marriage or the promise of one to come. It could even have been the birth of a child, all of which will bring a sense of joy or happiness.
This may not the case for everyone. Some will look back with feelings of disappointment or even pain. Failing grades, lost jobs, a disintegrating marriage – for these, the answer will not be found in cutting back carbs or running on a treadmill. For them, the new year may arrive with a sense of dread or a feeling of hopelessness. Many will face a new reality in the year ahead.
Are you there? Is your current reality one that seems hopeless? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of facing yet another year with fear or uncertainty?
May I encourage you to turn your eyes to the One who is the very gift of hope. Our heavenly Father takes great delight in us when we put our trust and hope in Him. He desires to guide, lead and protect us, even when we tread through difficult times.
“God’s plans for your life far exceeds the circumstances of your today.” Louie Giglio
My last post before the Christmas holidays was also on hope. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can read it here. I feel a sense of urgency in my spirit to share and encourage others to have hope. So most likely, it is a topic I will be writing on again over the new year.
Without trivializing your present circumstance, can I encourage you to let hope rise up in your heart? Will you determine to take steps of faith and move forward? Will you take hold of God’s promises.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“Cast all your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22
“He will call on me and I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him.” Psalm 91:15
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3: 5-6
I cannot say I know exactly what you have had to walk through. Maybe what you might still be going through. What I do know is that God is able and available to carry you through it. Maybe you may not, at this moment, be able to lift a party blower to your lips and ring in the new year. But you can resolve to pursue hope. And maybe one day soon, you will be able to say
“Even in my suffering I was comforted because your promises gave me life.” Psalm 119:50
So come on dear friends, let us journey together by faith (and hope) today. God bless you!