Will this finally be my year?
Rohan James // January 3, 2020, 11:07 pm
I’m not sure how 2019 was for you, but it felt like one of the worst years of my life.
We tend to come into a new year expecting new things – new ground and new heights. I came into 2019 expecting it to be like that, and when it didn’t happen, my faith was shaken.
I entered last year believing that nothing could faze me, confident that I was utterly surrendered to the will of God and able to go through any of the storms I would face. But within the same year, I stopped going to church for 5 weeks. How did I go from being full of faith to finding excuses not to attend services?
A couple of weeks ago, as I was doing my quiet time, I read a verse in Jeremiah. Jeremiah cried out to God, asking why he was brought into this world just to see suffering.
“Why did I ever come forth from the womb
To look on trouble and sorrow
So that my days have been spent in shame?” (Jeremiah 20:18 NASB)
That became my cry for the whole year. But as I meditated on this verse in Jeremiah, I begin to learn what being surrendered to the will of God really means.
The first thing Jeremiah did was to turn to God.
This is an important thing we must learn to do. In this day and age, where negative social pressures abound at every corner, it’s easy for us to turn to the wrong thing.
In his desperation, Jeremiah turned to God. He complained to God, knowing only God could work something out of the situation he was in. He knew it was only in his Creator that he could find peace.
When we choose to keep our focus on God in times of trouble rather than turning to vices or our own ideas, when we choose to rely on the only source of strength that won’t fail, our hearts and mind will be kept in Christ Jesus.
God wants to help us throughout the seasons in our life.
That means the enemy won’t have any more chances to steal more than he already has. The evil one can only sow seeds of guilt and doubt when we choose to turn to the wrong kind of “support” in our pits.
While I may not have turned to alcohol, drugs or other vices to fill the dissatisfaction in me, my straying from church did nothing to help me walk in God’s purposes for me in the valleys. All it did was widen the void between my messed-up life and God’s goodness and mercy.
God wants to help us throughout the seasons in our life. In the good, He wants us to acknowledge His presence and supply. And in the bad, He wants us to turn to Him.
The second thing Jeremiah did was to continue serving God.
In Jeremiah 1, we see Jeremiah giving God excuses after receiving his calling. He told God he was too young and didn’t know the words to say. But when God reassured him, Jeremiah surrendered. Note that Jeremiah wasn’t willing when God first called him. He had his fears, he had his concerns. And when things started to go wrong, the emotions started to weigh on him.
Unlike me, Jeremiah didn’t turn away from God when things started to go wrong. Though things weren’t smooth, instead of finding excuses to give up, Jeremiah looked to God and continued to serve Him.
That is what it means to be surrendered to God’s will: to turn to God in the midst of the storm and serve Him through it all.
Turning to God for strength and support does not automatically mean the stormy waters will become calm and smooth. It doesn’t mean everything is going to be a bed of roses for just a couple of chapters later, a plot is forged against Jeremiah to murder him.
This is what it means to be surrendered to God’s will: to turn to God in the midst of the storm and serve Him through it all.
Continuing to serve God will be challenging. After all, the Christian life is never an easy one. My pastor once said: “The Christian faith is a faith so hard that it is modelled and named after the only one who was able to do it – Christ.”
Even at the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said “yet not my will, but yours be done.” Jesus too faced temptations, and had to face the pain of the cross. But after spending time with His Father, He continued to carry out His divine mission.
I know that sometimes we don’t feel like it – it’s hard to sing Good Good Father when we don’t feel like our Father is there – but the important thing is that it’s not about what we feel. God has promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Our feelings and emotions hold no gravity over God’s promises.
When we decide to press on where we are as living sacrifices, continuing to serve God in every area in our lives, we’re acknowledging Him over our circumstances. Building our faith as we pour ourselves out unto God, He is also filling us up.
We serve, glorify and honour God because we have received unconditional, undeserving, never-ending love from Him. Our circumstance never changed that – so our posture of service and worship shouldn’t either.
I’m writing this because God has an appointment with someone reading this.
Someone reading this may have had an awful year. Someone reading this may have felt like giving up – may have felt like the Christian journey was too heavy a burden to carry.
But you’re reading this because God wants you to know that He has never left you. He sees your struggles and He is telling that you that He will be with you all the way in times of trouble.
I still don’t know why God allowed me to go through such a painful year. But I realised that knowing isn’t everything. We so often ask God to reveal His plans to us – yet I believe faith is best tested in the unknown. Through the tough seasons are we better able to rely on God for strength, wisdom and peace.
As we take our first steps in 2020, let’s look back at the previous year and thank God for everything.
No matter how bad or good a year is, we will always have something to thank God for. The very fact that you’re reading this is proof that God has held on to you. He is telling you that He’s holding you no matter what.
Thank God in trials, knowing that diamonds come forth through refining. God is shaping us like diamonds to reflect His light and showcase the splendour and glory of God.
Whatever happens, may this year be the year where you delve deep into your relationship with God. As you seek Him, you will find Him in ways you’ve never imagined.
This was a submission to our “Write your 2020 story” giveaway. You too can stand a chance to snag an exclusive set of Thir.st metal straws! Simply send your testimony to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us where God took you in the last decade and how you will pledge to follow Him into the next. Giveaway ends on January 31, 2020.
THINK + TALK
- What do you think being surrendered to God means?
- What are 3 things you can be grateful for about 2019?
- What are some trials you are currently facing that you can submit to God?