On beginning a New Year: I will wait for the Lord
“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”
—Lamentations 3:19-24 (NIV)
The beginning of a new year calls for reflection on the year that has passed. In my case, 2016 was one in a string of monumental years. There were moments when the deep comfort of Jesus’ presence and promises were all I could grasp. There were moments when my heart’s joy was so rich and so full that I felt I was bursting at the seams.
In the midst of the highs and lows of this season of my life, the most precious thing I have gained is the realization that God is steadfast. I came, through experience, to an understanding that in the moments when another breath might break my heart in two; God is with me. In the moments when an ear-to-ear grin threatens to split my face; God is with me. In the days when I don’t really feel anything at all; God is with me. He is not surprised by my thoughts, my emotions, or my responses, because he’s lived it. He gets it. He is with me. He is for me. No matter what.
I have come to a place where I am actually grateful for what I’ve been through. I am thankful for the way God has revealed himself to me. For the plans and the purpose He has had for me all along. He did not orchestrate my anguish, but He was, and is, taking the ashes of a life that seemed lost, and in a way that only our Lord can, redeeming that life. He is pulling me onto my feet again, reviving my heart, my soul, and rebuilding my life into something more beautiful than I ever imagined. He is the God of redemption and He longs to reconcile all things to Himself.
Did you see God’s redemption in 2016?
Are you still waiting to see His plans and His purpose revealed in your life?
We learn from Lamentations 3:19-24 that, amid being deeply downcast and feeling hopeless, we are able to review our lives and see the Lord’s faithfulness. When I am overwhelmed, I go back to the archives and am reminded that God makes good on his promises. It’s one thing to see these moments in the lives of people around us, but there is something deeply redemptive, transformative, when you actually experience God working in your own circumstances. He is not a God who makes bad things happen to us; but, He is a God who continually takes all the circumstances of life—the good, the bad, and everything in between—and sets them on a path of redemption and reconciliation that leads into himself. There are things we will never see reconciled in our lifetime. This does not mean reconciliation is not happening. God doesn’t rush. He is never in a hurry. But he is continually working things out for His glory. You may not always believe this, and it definitely goes against the grain of instant gratification, but it’s true.
So don’t lose hope. If you have seen God working in your life, praise him for it. If you are still waiting to see his redemption, then ask him for it in faith. And if you’re not even sure where you’re at, tell him about it. Because, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is this: regardless of the circumstance or the state of my heart in the midst of it, God is with me. He is for me. So, “I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”