Look back over the year now closing. With what was it filled? Did adverse circumstances gobble up your days? Did heartaches keep you awake at nights?
In all the highs and lows, was God any part of it, or was He in every part of it, helping you all the while?
My guess is He was there, in every part of your year, even if you didn’t recognize His presence. My guess is He brought you through many situations. My guess is He spoke to your heart with words of comfort and peace and quite possibly discipline, encouraged you through others, gave you hope for a renewed future, and fought for you, giving you victory.
In Old Testament times, Israel faced the Philistines. Samuel told all the people that, “If you are really serious about wanting to return to the Lord, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Determine to obey only the Lord; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” (1 Sam. 7:2-3 NLT)
So the Israelites got rid of their images and worshiped only the Lord. Then, they all fasted, repented, and offered a sacrifice and prayer to God, which He answered by confusing the enemy, overcoming them, and driving them back.
To commemorate Israel’s victory and recovery of all the territory the enemy had taken, Samuel set up a stone as a marker of remembrance, calling it Ebenezer, which means the stone of help.
When Samuel did this, he exclaimed, “Up to this point the LORD has helped us!” (1 Sam. 7:12 NLT)
Can you say that? Heretofore or up to this point, the Lord has been your Stone of Help?
Last year’s troubles or heartaches may be lingering into the New Year but the Lord is gracious and will never leave you without His help or comfort.
Do you desire God to do a new thing in your life this year? No matter how this year played out for you, the New Year offers you a new beginning. Whatever it brings your way, the Father will carry you through it all and bring a host of others to lift you up in prayer and encourage you in your walk. He stands close, with His arms outreached, awaiting your call.
My prayer for each of you is that your heart will be guarded with the hope of a better new year and you will experience a special touch of the Lord’s presence upon all you do.
…and He will yet again.