Have you gotten a word for your year? I see that this now seems to be the trend, especially amongst Christian circles, and I think it is wonderful to seek a vision from God about the coming year. Last year, the word He gave me was polish. As in refining, purifying, shining up. Polished. That is how I would come out. I don’t think that word’s time ended at the close of the year, but I do feel that it was built upon with this year’s word. Hope.
Growing up, I was always leaning on the pessimistic doubtful side. This carried on until college when I realized I didn’t want to live like that anymore. The Lord taught me to be optimistic, but deep in my heart doubts still resided. The past December I realized the depth of my doubts and disbelief in God’s promises. Somewhere along the line I picked up the lie that God’s promises are for everyone else, but not me. I would gravitate repeatedly towards the belief “It’s too good to be true for me.” When good things would sprout up in life, I would meet it with “It won’t last long.”
And you know what…I hate that. I hate it. I took these realizations to God and He gave me clearest word I’ve received in a long time.
“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:5 NLT
When I read that, it was like I suddenly realized what hopelessness I had been living in. I felt the Holy Spirit change my heart and in His grace, He gave me the greatest resolution of my life.
I will hope in the Lord.
The year started out with an abundance of overflowing miracles. Friendships I had let go of came back into my life, a job I’d been waiting to hear about was finally on the horizon, and the hope of the coming semester was abundant! I was seriously the most joyful I had been in years. I wrote on facebook about how glorious it is to hope in the Lord because He really makes life amazing when you do. And then 5 hours later it all crumbled. Everything fell through. Everything. Within 20 minutes everything that I had seen as God’s glorious abundant YES! was suddenly and dramatically a no.
At first I laughed with shock, but then about 10 minutes later it hit me. No to the friendships, no to the job, no to the classes I was most excited about. No, no, and no.
I felt the old feelings of rejection and disappointment rise up. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes and the heavy blanket of sorrow about to be placed on me. Then, however, Romans 5:5 came to mind, and I was suddenly aware that I was being watched.
I felt in my spirit as though angels were watching me. Watching to see what I would do.
“Do you think she’ll fall back into that pit?” “Do you think she’ll go back to who she was?” “Did she already forget the promise He gave her?”
I’ve never in my life felt such a feeling, but in that feeling I realized I was being tested.
I saw myself at the edge of a deep black pit, leaning towards falling in. But when I recognized the testing, it was as if I leaned back, turned around and stepped away from the pit that I had once so eagerly jumped into. And as I made the decision to not jump back in my old ways of self-pity, depression, and rejection, I felt hope rise as never before. I felt freedom. All those feelings broke off immediately, and joy came over me. I felt His smile as I passed the test by His grace.
Something shifted deep in my soul that day. I realized that we are presented a choice in each moment. Will we choose to fall into doubt and depression or strengthen our grip on His promises?
He said He is good. So He must be. He must be because He cannot lie.
Several tests like this one came in the days after. Some I faltered on, almost tripping into the pits of false emotions, but by His grace and mercy, I never fell in.
Friend, there is significance in every moment of our lives. There is no small matter. Each day we are given choices to live apart from Him and His promises or with Him and His promises.
I have begun to pray for the pause. I pray that I have a distinct moment where I realize the choice laid before me. And I will never forget the feeling that angels are watching me, hoping that I will choose Truth. And I want to pass this test, not for the angels but for my Abba Daddy. I want to glorify Him even in the moments that only the angels and He can see. We are never alone, never unnoticed.
“…choose this day whom you will serve.” Joshua 24:15
“…because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.” 1 Corinthians 4:9
“His purpose was that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 3:10
Take heart friend. When everything seems like a door shut in your face, trust that God holds the key. He’ll open that door in the right time, or another door soon. He loves you too much to leave you in a place of disappointment. Remember, it’s not over till it’s over. And God’s stories never ever end in sorrow.
You are loved. You are noticed. You are wanted. You are treasured. So continue on in hope. We won’t be disappointed!