I’m not going to lie. This year has been one of the toughest on record for me personally. I’ve had some of the greatest high points, like the birth of my second daughter, and the lowest of lows. As a church, we have experienced incredible joy and unspeakable pain as we’ve watched people walk through things that, in all honesty, we were never created to experience. Sickness, death, sadness, depression…We were created for none of that. We were created to be in loving relationship with our Father. But we messed that all up, didn’t we? I’ve found myself praying so much this year for God’s Kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven. My heart longs to see Him face to face and for Him to say that He’s proud of me. I know that’s been on a lot of your hearts too.
I can look back on 2013, however, and see that no matter what I was going through personally or what we were facing as a church family, Jesus was walking right beside us — hand in hand with us even. Not for one single moment did He forsake me (us). This past year, I’ve learned how steadfast God’s Word is. There have been times when I just couldn’t feel Him…I couldn’t see how He could possibly be at work. During those moments, a longing would strike my heart to dive into His Word, to search Him out. There are certain passages of Scripture that have become a lifeline for me, like Psalm 91:
The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
He Himself will deliver you from the hunter’s net, from the destructive plague.
He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings.
His faithfulness will be a protective shield.
You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day,
the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon.
Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you.
You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord — my refuge, the Most High — your dwelling place,
no harm will come to you;
no plague will come near your tent.
For He will give His angels orders concerning you,
to protect you in all your ways
They will support you with their hands
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the young lion and the serpent.
Because he is lovingly devoted to me,
I will deliver him;
I will exalt him because he knows My name.
when he calls out to Me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble.
I will rescue him and give him honor.
I will satisfy him with a long life and show him my salvation.
That’s why I will declare this New Year a year of hope. It’s going to be a year full of seeing His miracles, seeing things through His eyes, and of loving devotion to Him. I hope that you will make that same declaration in your own life.