Wow! Yesterday we said goodbye to 2017 and today we welcome 2018. How do you feel about that? Are you sad that yet another year has passed? Are you afraid of what lies ahead? Are you happy to say GOOD RIDDANCE to 2017? For me, 2017 has been a bit of a difficult year. I am looking forward to a fresh start and a new beginning; a time to set new goals and a time to dream new dreams. But, as I sit and think over the past year and over those difficult things, I am also reminded that none of our days are a waste. In fact, Psalm 118:24 tells us that THIS is the day that the Lord has made! Which day? Every day. Past days, today, future days, good days, boring days, sad days and bad days, too. And though I’m sure there are many days you too wouldn’t mind erasing from existence, let’s focus on what we can learn from them and see if we can find the beauty behind why those days were even created.
Let’s ask ourselves these questions over the difficulties of the past:
1.) How did God show Himself faithful during that time? Notice I did not say how did God make you happy, or did God give you everything you wanted. It’s important, especially in the hard times, that we remember that God is not a genie in the sky giving us everything we think is best.
What He does promise His children is that He will never leave them or forsake them (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6 & 8).
So how did He show Himself faithful through your circumstance? Did He give you a supernatural peace to get you through it (Philippians 4:7)? Did He surround you with people to encourage you?
2.) List ALL the blessings you can think of from 2017. Little blessings as well as big blessings! This may help you with your answer to number one. Many times it’s easy to get caught up in the bad. Some days seem like there is so much going wrong that there is no good to be found. But if we look closely, and truthfully we probably don’t have to look that hard, there are an insurmountable number of blessings everyday. Check out Thankful for the Fleas for more on finding joy in every circumstance.
3.) Did your faith in God grow and was it strengthened as a result of the hard stuff of the past? If so, count it as a win! James 1:2-4 says to consider it JOY when you endure trials, because the testing of your faith produces endurance and endurance helps you become mature and complete, lacking nothing.
So, with this knowledge, we have a choice to make. Will we let the difficulties of the past make us bitter, angry, resentful, regretful… or will we go into this new year with excitement as to what the Lord has in store for each new day? I say let’s charge into 2018 with the knowledge that our trials have matured us in our faith and we are NOT the same people we were going into 2017! And let’s welcome each new day with complete confidence in who God is and who He will continue to be!
Lamentations 3:19-24 says:
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and 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.
If you are not yet a child of God, or if you are, but this is a time of doubt that you are walking through, or maybe you are knowingly heading into a difficult time, I’d love to encourage you with one of my own stories from 2017. Is God Good When Life Isn’t
Press in to God and let Him carry you through!
Audra and her husband Jordan are called to ministry and he is the senior pastor at their church. They have two beautiful children who bring them tons of joy, lots of laughs, and on occasion new grey hair. She is a former teacher who still loves to teach, enjoys cooking and baking, and has a passion to lead other women to know Jesus and live out their faith in Him.