What are you feeling about the new year?
I know people who are hoping to become engaged; have a baby; get a better paying job; move to a new home; overcome a longstanding illness; or see a family member become a Christian.
Who will experience the fulfillment of these hopes and who will be disappointed when 2013 ends and there’s no fiance; no baby; the same job; no new home; remaining chronic pain or sickness; and a still unconverted loved one?
Something I’m working through in my heart is the balance between having expectant faith about 2013 while preparing my heart for disappointment. You see, I’m old enough to have experienced years of stunning, cherished surprises and answered prayers, as well as those that were marked by heartache or dashed hopes. I’ve discovered something that many of you have learned as well: God has been and will always be faithful.
Faithful in 1961 when He protected me from an attempted abduction.
Faithful in 1973 when he gave me a husband.
Faithful in 1975-76 when I lost my dad and brother within eight months.
Faithful in 1978 when the first of six miracle babies was born to an infertile woman.
Faithful in the 80’s and 90’s when babies came faster than we anticipated in the midst of Benny pastoring a growing church.
Faithful in 1994 to save a baby girl’s life and bring her to complete our family.
Faithful in 1998 when our world was rocked when a daughter eloped and each of our family members walked through the ensuing challenges that followed.
Faithful in 2000 when my dear mother died suddenly from cancer just days before our move to Florida.
Faithful in the 2000’s to bring eleven Little People into Benny’s and my lives as evidence of His love and goodness to a new generation.
Faithful in 2012 when redemptive love on display brought the birth of Redeemer Church to a pretty old couple and the band of courageous people whose also-broken lives made it possible.
He has been faithful through soaring highs and crushing lows. Through months of depression and discouragement, and seasons of “can you believe this?” opportunities. During years when the hope of a new year was the only thing that kept me going, and on a New Years Eve that found me breathless from all the welcomed changes. During seasons when I wondered how I could feed my family on the available funds and when provision came in shocking ways that reminded me how much I love surprises.
None of us know what the new year will bring. But this we do know: God will be there every step of the way. Whatever blessings or suffering await us, His abiding presence will guide, comfort and sustain us. In a few weeks we’ll get used to writing 2013 and the year will start to age. Changes – some welcome and others not – will shake our world and perhaps our faith. This year may bring long awaited answers to prayer, glorious joy and moments we will cherish for the rest of our lives.
More quickly than we realize, 2013 will get old and be tossed onto the years that have gone before it. But in the midst of whatever changes, disappointments, sweet memories, joyful events or sorrows that come, we rest secure. All that awaits us is in the control of a God who is not just sovereign but is also good.
To that powerful and good God I offer this prayer for you:
Lord, thank you for Your constant faithfulness. Through every generation that has gone before us, You have been good. I pray that whatever 2013 holds for those who visit this blog, You will remind us that You are lovingly and skillfully managing the details of our lives – big and small – to make us more and more like You. Help us to see both the trials and the blessings as things for which we can trust You. Be glorified this year, Lord. Amen.