What disappointment has gripped your heart this year? It’s New Year’s Eve and as I sit and reflect on the year, I find myself thinking about the disappointments of this year. While we have all been impacted by the goings on of 2020, some of us have been hit harder than others.
Maybe it was the diagnosis from the doctor that rocked your world. Or maybe it was the relationship breakdown that shattered your heart. Maybe it was the constant rejection with each job application. Or maybe it was… Insert whatever your heartache was.
Whatever your ache is, I get it. We can’t always dodge the curve balls that life throws at us and sometimes we get knocked down by it. I get it. For me, life has taken some unexpected turns this year and people have done some unexpected things and pain has come from unexpected places. The pain has gripped my heart and soul.
But if I am honest, there has been times when the pain has gripped my heart so much that it left no room for God. It gripped me to the point where God’s love and mercy was pushed to the side and the pain and disappointment took up full residence.
And so, what happens when there is no room for God?
You become numb to Him and his presence. You become deaf to His tender whispers. And you become immune to the peace and joy that only He can give. Because the truth is that even in the hardest of seasons, God can still fill you with peace and joy.
He is bigger than our circumstances and environment, yet when we focus on our circumstances and pain, we push God to the side. Most often, we don’t even realise we do this. At least I don’t realise I am doing it until I stop and realise that I haven’t heard His whispers or peace for a while.
But if I’ve learned (or re-learned) anything this last year, it’s that God loves us too much to leave us in our misery and pain. He doesn’t just want to walk through the valley with us, He wants to carry the burden for us. As I’ve walked, and at times crawled, through some valleys this year, I have found God reaching out to me time and again. Time and again, whether through His Word or through worship music or through people, I would hear the tender whisper of Jesus calling me to Him.
On multiple occasions the words of Jeremiah 29:13 have appeared in some form, ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’ (NIV) God saw my pain and He wanted to me to lift my eyes to Him. Sitting in church the other week, we were all handed a small box with a scripture inside. When I opened mine, the words of 1 Peter 5:7 were looking back at me, ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’ (NIV). As I quietly held back my emotion, I was reminded again that God wants to not only walk with me in my pain but carry it for me.
And so, I’m re-learning to lean more onto the Lord and not focus on my circumstances. I am re-earning to sit in silence and let Him minister to the disappointment that has settled over me. I am taking time to thank God for the wonderful moments that happened, because despite the disappointment, there was beauty and joy and love. My goodness, God has shown His goodness through the disappointment and I am reminding myself to focus on the good, not the bad. It’s so easy to focus on the bad but when we stop and reflect, we can see just how kind and gracious God has been. Can I encourage you, please don’t miss the goodness of God amidst the hardship of life; He is present and He is kind and we will see Him when we look for Him.
But mostly, I am re-learning the art of letting go and letting God be God.
Because only He can do the impossible.
And only He can change circumstances that seem impossible.
So, as we get ready to turn the page on the calendar and face a new year, here is my prayer for us: that we would seek the Lord with our whole hearts and we would cast our burdens on Him. That we would look beyond our circumstances (because we all know that circumstances don’t change with the flick of a calendar!) and we would focus on Him; on His goodness and love and grace. And that we wouldn’t miss the beauty and love of Jesus, because that far surpasses every other thing in this world.
May 2021 be a year filled with the love and peace of Jesus.
Happy New Year