It’s hard to believe that we are in the last few days of 2019. It seems like just a few blinks ago that I was sitting down to make prayerful plans for this year, and now I’m looking back and processing how successful those plans turned out to be. If I’m honest about my opinion, I don’t think they were very successful at all. I guess it’s a good thing that my opinion isn’t what carries the most weight when it comes to evaluating my life.
As I sat in church today, preparing my heart to look forward already, a brief thought arose in my mind:
“God, I’m so glad this year is almost over.”
I’ll admit, it’s been a difficult year in many ways, but the sentiment surprised me a bit. Because I have been sustained by His grace through the hard things, I didn’t realize that I was so drained and so ready to put it all behind me. I usually rather enjoy the process of sifting through and pulling out what’s worthy of treasuring, and discarding what I wasn’t meant to hold onto. This year, though, I feel ready to throw it all in the trash bin and start over without looking back.
Thankfully, God caught that rising thought and brought it to my attention, challenging it with His own. Before I could even argue, I was humbled by the revelation that it isn’t my place to pass judgment on the year behind me. That right belongs to God alone, the Maker of Heaven and Earth and me, and the One Who works all things according to the counsel of His perfect will (Psalm 146:6; Psalm 139:13-16; Ephesians 1:11-12). Things may not have gone the way I thought or had hoped they would, but they went exactly as God planned for them to go.
I can say this with confidence because: 1) I’ve been freshly convicted of that truth, and 2) because, despite my well-laid plans and hopeful expectations, I predicated everything on the request for His will and not my own to be down. I did my best to cooperate with the direction I felt Him leading, but the details I surrendered to Him. Well, at least I did so in theory. I suppose I couldn’t have completely done so if I am standing here bewildered and disappointed by the way things have gone!
God is gracious. Maybe for some, the acceptance of circumstances gone so far out of the bounds of one’s own hopes might be a difficult pill to swallow. And acknowledging that it was God’s doing – and His good doing at that – might be too much for some hearts to wrap their trust around. I feel so grateful that I’ve walked through enough deep, dark, winding valleys with God that I no longer have that struggle. He is God and I am not, and the way things go or don’t go have no bearing on my decision to believe that He is still good and faithful and loving and kind and redemptive in all that He does (or does not do).
Dear Woman of Breakthrough, I don’t know how your year has gone. I don’t know if you’re standing, like me, with pieces you don’t understand and would rather not try to. Or if maybe you’re struggling to find some hope in the middle of the messes you’ve encountered. Or if maybe it’s been a wonderful year for you, and you’re packing up the hope chest so you will have the memories to share with your loved ones somewhere down the road. Whatever it has been for you, I want to remind you of the same thing I was reminded of today: the right to judge the year behind you belongs to God alone.
Have you taken your 2019 before Him, offered it up before His throne, and asked for eyes to see it as He does? Have you thanked Him for it – the good and the bad – and asked Him to seal it with His blessing? After all, He walked through this year with you. He was there, working in all that you and I experienced, to accomplish something of what He has promised toward us: His good (Romans 8:28).
May 2019 be laid to rest with the deep conviction that God did what was best for us, and that He will continue, in the year and years ahead, to do the same. May we position our hearts to be willing witnesses of His glorious plans that are beyond our understanding, and thus rejoice in His incredible, mysterious, sovereign and perfect ways!