Thursday, December 31, 2015

At the Ending of a Year

How do you approach the ending of a year?

I remember one year's ending very clearly.

It had been a very hard year and I was so glad to see it end!

It never dawned on me that the year just on the horizon would be so much harder that it would make me wish to have the other one back.

But it did! 

I learned that being thankful for the end of one year may not be the best way to look ahead to the next!  And it was in that new year's hard that I saw in new ways the trustworthy God who was my Help in everything that I had feared.

I do like to take some time now at the end of a year to reflect on the things that have passed in our lives during those 12 months.  And every year it becomes more clear to me that I depend completely on His grace.

He knew my needs before I even knew I had them, and His grace was meeting those needs before I was ever aware of it.

Without His working and grace in my life, I would be hopeless.

And I am not hopeless!

Looking at the past we can see things much clearer.  Like seeing where we have been in a rear view mirror, we can see how events fell together, and how God was at work in them.

Looking at how He has acted for us in our past, makes it easier to see how we can depend on Him when we look at the future.

When we look at the future, we really have no idea what lies ahead.

So we can approach it basically in two ways.  We can worry about it, even fear the future.  

This is my personal default if I am going to be honest about it.

Or we can trust God to take us where He wants us to be in whatever lies ahead for us.

We can open our hands to whatever plans God chooses to put there.

Because we know the goodness of God, then we know we can trust Him.

These days I close out the old year by thanking God for the way He met us in our hard days and hours and even moments of the year before. 

I thank Him for His provisions, for His care and love and especially for His presence in my moments.

I look back at what has been written in my gratitude journal over that year, and I remember...
I remember as I read the things I wrote during the good times and the struggling times, all of those "hitherto hath the Lord helped us" times.

And because I have observed and kept a record of Him acting in my hitherto, I can remember that He has promised that whatever all of our new years hold for us... He has us.

When we lived in England, we went to see the city of York. The first time we went, I had no clue what was about to unfold as I turned one corner and looked ahead to the end of the street.  There standing before me was the magnificent York minster.  The sight took my breath away.  It rose 230 feet set against a clear blue sky and the sight just seemed like one of those fake backdrops you sometimes see on television! This sight we were amazed by was the real reveal! We wondered how something so glorious could be real?  Yet there it was.  Its mere presence demanded that we notice the majesty of the one that the building was dedicated to as the builders dedicated over 200 years to building it.  The workers who began the work were not around to see the finish!  

And it was an unforgettable sight.

Looking ahead to the New Year can be like that.  We have no idea what lies ahead for us around the next corner.  It may be a glimpse of His glory unlike any we have seen before.

It  could be a clear glimpse of His glory... just suddenly there before our very eyes.
Making an obvious display of His majesty.
Or it may be wrapped in hard. And we may have to walk through that hard before we can see His glory in His plans.
We may never see His glory the way He planned it to unfold while we are in this life.

Whatever lies ahead, one thing we can count on is that He is with us, and that He will help us.

So I will ask myself these questions:
Has the last year been hard?
Has Jesus been here with me?
Did His grace meet my needs?

Will my next year be hard?

It might.  It certainly can be.

But will worry or fear make it less hard?

Of course not.

We don't know what the future holds, but He does.
And He holds us ... whatever the future brings our way.

We tend to look at what is possibly ahead without factoring in that part.
He holds us.

He knows what is coming.

Good or Bad ... He knows.

He has hitherto helped us.

And He always will.

We can look ahead without fear overwhelming us.
We can rest in the knowledge that He will be with us whatever comes, draw near to Him and look ahead with gratitude for all He has helped us with so far.

We can open our hands to receive whatever He has for us in the future without fear,
because there is always good to be seen, even though it may be wrapped in hard.

There is always good because He is always good.

And we might make at least one of our New Year's resolutions to be that we will live every moment drawing closer to Him, regardless what might lie around the corner.

Because whether this year holds good or bad things...

My good will always be in His nearness.

Praying that this year finds
us all living every moment drawing closer to Him


One thing I am going to do this year is to list all of the Bible verses I find that teach the truth that our good is found in His nearness.  

I tend to think that if certain things happen?  That will be good.  
I have found that is not the case. 
I can face anything.  
What I need is Him.  
That alone is my good.
That alone is what I am depending on this year. 

And you?  What are you depending on?  


Open My Hands
Sara Groves

Please join me in prayer for those who already know that they will be facing hard this year.

Pray that God's grace will meet them there.
IN their hard.

That they will know they are held.

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