I think we’d all agree that 2008 was a hard year. I feel ten years older some days, and I feel like I’ve somehow managed to experience more in this one year than I would have cared to experience in a lifetime. We’re growing. Things are changing. Taking place, taking shape. Things are shifting and moving. Preparing our hearts for the days to come.
2008 held a lot of refining times. There were many opportunities for growth; many opportunities for change. And while that growth is good and much needed, it was hard. It was an exhausting year.
I have this overwhelming sense of relief about the ending of this year, and the beginning of a new one.
I leave 2008 with a better understanding of who I am; a better understanding of who I am destined to be. I leave more hungry than ever, to see and hear the things unseen and unheard. I conclude this exhausting year with an overwhelming sense of peace and hope.
This hope is not deferred, it does not disappoint.
This hope strengthens us to walk confidently into this next year of uncertainty with expectations of the surprising provision of our God.
I keep feeling that this year will be a year of refreshment and revelation. More than ever, we will learn to live out of the secret place, we will draw our strength from the truth found in those moments; from who we find there.
For some this will be a fearful year. The focus of your eyes (ears, heart, etc.) will be the deciding factor. Look around you and you’ll find more than enough reasons to walk in fear. But God says that He will provide. Just like He provided for His people in all the days before us. “See I care about you, and I will pay attention to you” – (ez. 36:9) In the Old Testament, the Lord is speaking to the prophet Ezekiel about how He will restore Israel. He tells Ezekiel that He will provide for His people, that their crops will be plentiful, and that their children and livestock will multiply. He promises that their cities will be rebuilt and that He will cause them to be even more prosperous than before. Later, He goes on to say that this provision is not deserved, but that He is doing it to protect His holy name, “and when I reveal my holiness through you before their very eyes, says the Sovereign Lord, then the nations will know that I am the Lord.”- (ez. 36:23)
Out of truth, others will walk in a confident hope. They’ll walk in expectation. They will wait to see the glory of the Lord and the restoration of His people everywhere. Fear will be used by the enemy to divide the church, but the Lord is planting seeds of hope in individuals to strengthen it. We shouldn’t forget the great joy that is found when we witness the mighty works of the Lord. Let us hope in it and patiently wait for it.
“Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord .”
We used to be a people that lived and walked in fear and darkness. But we have seen a great light. Let’s walk into 2009 in this light, with a hope overflowing.
God bless you in this new year.
He makes all things new.