There is a part of me that wants to tell 2019, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” Then again, so many good and wonderful things were mixed among the hard that I cannot just make a blanket judgement of the year.
2019 brought deep heartache and deep joy. It was marked by hope and despair, victory and defeat. The word the Lord gave me at the beginning of the year was LIGHT. Specifically as used in Matthew 10:27…
…and you should proclaim in the light what you hear in the darkness.
The funny thing is, I always seem to misunderstand the word of the year. When I read that verse last January, I understood it so say I should proclaim what I heard in the darkness. Like the darkness part was over. Silly me.
No, God knew I would be wading through more. He foresaw the need I would have to grasp firm to the flicker of light that I held in my hand so as not to stumble in the thick, murky night. He knew what he would teach me, the hard lessons, the beautiful truths, the refining that would take place in my wounded heart as I learned to trust for just that day, that moment, that one step I could see just enough to take.
And now, on this last day of 2019 I sit with a heart forced into calm. The storm has not yet passed, but my God has remained strong and faithful. He has answered many prayers, worked miracles in the lives of those I love, and brought new joy and purpose to my family. Though winds of uncertainty still threaten my spirit, He quiets them with his unfailing love. I can trust Him.
I can trust Him.
In 1 Timothy 1, Paul write to Timothy with important reminders and instructions. He shares his testimony, reminding Timothy of why God allowed Him, the chief of sinners, to be saved.
But I received mercy for this reason that in me, as the foremost [sinner], Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.1 Tim. 1:16
Then he charges Timothy, knowing what has been prophesied about him in the past and knowing that those prophesies coming true will involve struggle, suffering, and warfare to “wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.”
As I felt the word for 2020 emerge in my heart, I sought Scripture for it and found it here, in the HCSB translation.
Timothy, my son, I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you, so that by them you may strongly engage in battle, having faith and a good conscience.1 Timothy 1:18-19 (HCSB)
Remember what the Lord has promised. Engage in the battle. Have faith. Let nothing hold you back or deter you from the call that God has placed on your life. “Stay in your lane,” as a good friend recently advised.
To pursue the things of God is to engage in warfare. To go against the grain of society and be the hands and feet of Jesus invites ridicule, criticism, and judgement. To be a voice for the voiceless, to love and serve those that the rest of the world judges, is a sure opportunity for attack.
I (and, dare I say, we) are called by God to stop sitting on the sidelines and using every distraction we can find to avoid seeing the lost and hurting, the wounded and bound around us. We are called to step in, to GO, to build relationships with those who feel unseen and ignored by God in order to make disciples. The great commission doesn’t just apply to clergy or missionaries. It applies to the ordinary fisherman, to the doctor, to the mother, to the writer, musician, and to the ex-con who has just been set free. It applies to the trafficking survivor, the CEO, and the kid who just aged out of the foster system. All of us can think of a number of good excuses as to why we are not qualified, why someone else is better able to follow the call to make disciples, but God not only calls every believer to engage in the “good warfare”, He qualifies those He calls.
The truth is…I have what it takes. So do you.
I’ve learned a lot in the darkness. It’s time to engage.
2020, I’m ready for you. Lord, send me.