I always look forward to a new year, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never needed one as much as I do this year. 2016 was a spectacularly horrible year overall. Yes, there were some bright spots, but they were definitely overshadowed by the hard stuff. And from what I’m reading on my Facebook page, it seems that many of my friends feel the same way. So, I thought I’d dust off the old blog and encourage us all 🙂
Sometimes, a new year can feel like a new beginning…and sometimes, it can feel like it’s just going to be more of the same. I had many days (far more than I would like to count up) this year where I felt like it didn’t matter if the calendar changed over to a new day, or a new month, or a new year. It felt like there was no new beginning. I was in survival mode for most of the year, honestly, and I didn’t really see an end to that. But then, during the time of year that I had been dreading since Spring when my parents died – the holidays – something started happening in my heart. Yes, there were dark days; days when it was all I could do to get out of bed and function for the sake of my kids, but in the middle of all that, God started working in my heart.
It started with a couple of songs from Hillsong during my morning devotional time. The first was “Here Now”, and the part that says “Still my heart. Let Your voice be all I hear now. Fix my eyes on things that I can’t see now“. And then, “Even When It Hurts” where it says “Come like hope again“. I began calling on God to help me see beyond the present circumstances filling up my line of vision to the good future He sees (Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”). I asked Him to come like Hope again. And He did. God is so good like that! I didn’t go to Him with some fake spirituality pretending like I had it all together. No – He knows my heart was shattered; He knows my hope was gone. But when I took that to Him and asked Him to come meet me right where I was, in the middle of the hurt and sadness, He was there. Not that He had ever left my side during it all. I had just lost sight of Him in all the hard stuff Life threw at me this year.
Maybe you are in that same place. Maybe you feel like 2016 was a horrible year and you have no hope that 2017 will be any different. Maybe you are trying to put on a brave face when everyone says “It’s a new season!”, “Good things are coming!”, “2017 will be your best year ever!”… when what you really need is someone to come in and give you true hope because yours is gone. God is the only One who can do that, my friend. My circumstances haven’t really changed. But God built hope in the middle of those same circumstances. Here is the scripture I am holding on to as I go into 2017:
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
My prayer for you today is that God would meet you right where you are and rebuild your hope for 2017, that He would help you see your future the way He does – with goodness – no matter what your present circumstances look like, that He would speak life to your soul and you would hear His voice above the noise of this world, and that you would be able to hold on to the promise that you will see the goodness of God.
Father – Come like HOPE for our new year