2017 was a difficult year for me! There was lots of change and transition. Some change was planned and anticipated, while other change was unexpected and unwanted. It was a year of high mountain tops and low valleys. I started my masters degree in 2017 (I love studying!). I drove a 15 passenger van (full of college students) across Canada. I was promoted at work! I was demoted at work. I served at Centre Church with some amazing friends, and I got to lead worship at camps and conferences around North America with some of my favorite people. My wife and I got to take Jairen (our little boy) to Disneyland for the first time - best ever, and in September we lost Jairen and haven’t been able to see or talk to him since.
At times I laughed ridiculously hard, and at other times I cried more tears than I had in all 26 prior years combined.
I look back, and although there were times of great pain, I see God’s hand in it all. I see that through times of great trial, he was shaping me and forming me into the image of His son Jesus. He was teaching me to trust Him, even when I don’t understand. Romans 8:26-28 has been an important verse for me.
"Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God (MSG). And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (NIV)
Bethel Music released a song last summer that was exactly what I needed, and it was called “Take Courage”. One of the lyrics says “Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting..." (listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJoABwNMzvM). Out of everything I could say about 2017, that is one things that is certainly true. He was with me in the waiting. He was with me in my sorrow, and He was with me in my pain.
My prayer for 2018 is not that that my life would be easier and more comfortable, but instead that I would have eyes to see and ears to hear what God wants me to learn and who He wants me to become. That I would not tire of doing good, and that He would find beauty in my brokenness.
2018 is a new year. A new beginning. A new opportunity to grow and become. As cliche as this phrase has become, I truly believe that “the best is yet to come”. In saying that, “the best” might not be what I think “the best” is, but I know that God is working all things together for my good, and that he has great plans for my future. He’s not done with me yet, and I’m thankful for that.
PRAYER FOCUS: Pray and ask God today what he wants you to learn and who he wants you to become. After your time of prayer, write down what you believe God is speaking to you.