Reflecting on God's Faithfulness
2019 was not a waste, but a perfect reflection that God's faithfulness comes in sometimes the most unexpected ways.
As I reflect on the last 12 months, I see trials and triumph. I see challenges and victories. But most importantly, I see God's faithfulness through it all. My initial reaction, though, as I looked back on this year was to define it by disappointment. 2019 has easily been one of the most challenging years I've had. When I try to come to terms with my experiences and why my journey has been what is, I can’t. But that’s the beauty of it. It’s not for me to figure out. My job is to simply love God (and maybe learn to truly accept His love?) and trust that His plan for my life is greater. As I truly let that sink in, the disappointment I felt was washed away and I was reminded of just how faithful the Lord has been and will continue to be.
Looking back on this year reminded me of Nehemiah. If you’re not familiar with this book in the Bible, I encourage you to go read it. Nehemiah has a heart for God and we can learn so much from his willingness to trust and be obedient to the Lord despite opposition from the enemy.
Nehemiah 4:6-10 it says, “So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their hearts. But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the people of Ashdod heard the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
Essentially what’s happening is this: God tells his people to do something. They do it. At first they're excited and filled with certainty. But then they face opposition, or it doesn’t go exactly how they thought it would, and they immediately start questioning whether or not they’re doing what the Lord said. Or, they start doubting God’s ability to make a way through impossible territory. Every time I read this passage, I’m overwhelmed by conviction.
How often do we do this in life? How often do we hear from the Lord, obediently follow Him, and then in the midst of it face opposition and rather than standing firm in our faith, we question God?
I shared this in a weekly devotion with co-workers nearly two years ago and while it felt relevant then, I now see that the Lord gave me this word to hold onto for this very moment (because God is good like, He knows what we need before we even need it) - to remind myself that 2019 has been my year of rebuilding that wall and facing opposition. But friends, while the enemy whispered lie after lie into my ear, I’m here to tell you that I am standing firm in the truth of the Lord and trusting that while I’m here in the wilderness, God is using this for His glory and has a plan so great I can’t even imagine. Although I can't quite see what's around the corner, I trust that I'm following the will of God and He has it all worked out.
You see, what I’ve learned over the years is this. Sometimes God reveals to us the next step in our journey but doesn’t always immediately reveal the step after that. When He does this, it’s not to punish us, or to withhold good from us, it’s because God sees the end from the beginning. He sees everything. We can only see what’s right in front of us. We think we know what's best for our lives, but we don’t because our view is limited. God can see ALL things and because of that, His timing is always right. He will choose to reveal what’s next, or open the next door at just the right moment.
I don’t know what your year has been like, I don’t know what it is you’re believing God for, but I do know this: Don’t give up Hope. Trust that God is working and remain obedient to His will. Remember how God has been faithful to you in the past and cling to that - He WILL be faithful again.
I've been reminded in the last year that sometimes our lives don’t look the way we want (maybe more often than not?). Trusting God isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. I’ve learned that sometimes our obedience leads us to the wilderness. And I don’t have an answer as to why. Maybe on this side of heaven I never will. But I do know this, my God is GOOD and He is FAITHFUL, and His LOVE knows absolutely no limits. He doesn't promise us an easy life, but He does promise to walk with us through it.
Looking back on 2019, from an outside perspective, from the perspective the enemy wants me to have, it may seem like a waste. But wow, from my perspective, the perspective I know God has, it was without a doubt, NOT a waste. Sometimes we learn more about ourselves and our relationship with God through the hard times than we do when things are easy. 2019 was a year the Lord filled my heart with love, peace, and joy despite the hardships and for that, I am truly grateful.
I see God’s faithfulness woven through my life time and time again as I reflect on the last 12 months. I learned that I am not defined by my job, the amount of money I make, or how many followers I have on social media. I am a daughter of the King and His love defines me.
The most important thing I will take from 2019 and carry with me into the next decade is this: God is love. Through the highs and lows, the hills and valleys, God’s love is overwhelming in the best way. When everything is stripped away, no job, money, house, car, etc, who I am will never change. I am loved by God.
As I embark on the new year, a new decade (how did that happen so fast?!), I can’t help but *believe* that God has great plans in store. His love is never failing and His mercies are new every morning. Cling to that truth in 2020, friends. God is good and He loves you more than you could begin to imagine.
And lastly, while we all make plans of our own, remember God’s plan is always greater.
Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”