January 2, 2020

Another year and even decade has come to a close.

You may have spent recent days, like me, reminiscing fondly over the past ten years. Perhaps your life has been marked by more good than difficult days.   I trust you’re one who is eager as the new year and decade is upon us.

That might be you, or this scenario might ring more true: the last year was hard, capping off a decade that has felt more challenging and troublesome than satisfying and fruitful. You’ve white-knuckled your way through one struggle after another and possibly feel like you’ve lost more battles than you’ve won. You’ve prayed fervently for good, new things to come and your people have done the same for you. You’ve sought God’s direction, acted in obedience and caught glimpses of what “better” and “good” could look like … but every time that good thing alluded you. In reality, you’re entering a new year and new decade feeling battered, tired and confused.

It can be easy when you’re in this second scenario to look at the success of others and feel shame for not being where you think you should be or where (you think) others expect you to be. To feel God forgot you – or that you must matter less for Him to answer so many prayers for others before answering any of yours. To feel scared you’re wasting years of your life in limbo and/or scared that somewhere you made some accidental misstep that makes where you are your fault.

Here’s what you must know and remember:

The following three truths are not designed to minimize your hardship in life.  In fact, each have been proven by many (including me) to be real and offer life-giving perspective. Sometimes all we need is perspective.  My prayer is that one or more will touch your heart.

1. Remember that your struggles always lead to strength.

Every difficulty in our lives, whether big or small, is something God will use to produce more strength, faith and perseverance in us if we let Him! All your pain has a purpose. All of it.

“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.” Romans 8:28

2. Remember that God’s timing is always perfect.

God’s plans are almost always different from our plans, but His plans are always perfect. Have the patience to wait on His timing instead of forcing your own. He is rarely early but never late.

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

3. Remember that God will never leave your side.

You may feel like you’re going through this struggle all alone, but from the moment you ask Jesus to bring you into God’s family, He will be by your side to the end so never lose hope! He’s your all-knowing, all-powerful, all-consuming friend who happens to also be God.  

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

May Jesus walk so close to you that you can hear Him, sense Him, and feel Him.

 “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Is. 43:19