I couldn’t be happier to close the book on last year. With all of its disappointments and disheartening situations, my feeble soul looks on to this coming year with great anticipation.
My discouraged, yet hopeful heart clings to Isaiah 43:19:
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
But just because the calendar marks a new year doesn’t mean my life has changed one bit, because it hasn’t. Last week I was dealing with difficulties, uncertainties, and messes that I’m still dealing with today. But for some strange reason, as a page on the calendar turns, my hope is renewed.
There’s just something about a new year. All the possibilities. A fresh start. A Clean state. Another opportunity to do life better than the year before. And yet, God gives us new mercies every morning in spite of what day it is. Apparently, I have spiritual amnesia because I forget this truth.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24
And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17
It’s the suffering part I don’t want to acknowledge and when I look back to last year, my heart was wounded more times than I care to count. Yet, it is in the land of suffering where we become more like Christ.
But due to all of life’s heartaches and hardships, I teeter between becoming bitter or better…
And this monster of bitterness is waiting for me to succumb to my negative emotions so it can rule in my mind. This is not a good place for me to be spiritually. I know theologically, the suffering we endure is for good and I would be wise to banish the bitterness that wells up in my heart. But in order to battle these negative emotions on a regular basis, I have to take every thought captive and boss my emotions around on a regular basis. If I don’t, my thought-life will dictate my choices and thus, my life.
We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NLT
Maybe last year was less than stellar for you, too? Amidst all the struggles, broken relationships, dashed dreams, and the constant battles you faced, run to sound doctrine, my friend because it is the only thing that will rescue your hurting soul. It is in this spiritual practice that God mends your heart. Strengthens it. Renews it. Transforms it. And takes it from bitter to better.
Yes, sometimes I want to take a bath in my bitterness, but if I do, I won’t come out better. There won’t be one ounce of me that will have the sweet, smelling aroma of Jesus Christ. Instead, I have to look for God to make a river in my dry wasteland. And so, I anxiously await for Him to show up knowing full well He will. He always does.
This year, let go of the hand of bitterness and grab hold of God’s hand which is filled with an abundance of His promises.
Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20 (The Amplified Bible)
Live a poured out life for Christ,