It is a new year, 2015 and I rejoice in the knowledge that God will continue the good work that He has started in me, in my family, in friends, in our church. God is constantly working, for His glory! We do not ever have to think that He will abandon His work. His promises are sure and faithful and a rock to stand upon. Even in the hardest of times or the darkest of nights, His light shineth brighter than the sun or any star in the universe. His love continues to pour out larger than the waves in the middle of the vast ocean and His living power continues to change hearts and come alive within them.
He is the God of every year, present in time and present outside of time, completely controlling all things to work out His plan. And though on this Earth we are beset with sin and illnesses, hardships and calamity, we are empowered through His Spirit and comforted by His gracious presence to endure for the sake of the Gospel, the Truth. As we just celebrated at Christmas, He is Immanuel, God with us. He is Immanuel in our joys. He is Immanuel in our sorrows. He is Immanuel in our blessings and He is Immanuel in our trials.
I try to see both the blessings and trials of life as gifts from God’s hand. Romans 8:28 “And in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” In ALL things, God works! I am currently in my later thirties and have seen many seasons of life already. I have seen the seasons of great joy and blessings, standing on spiritual mountaintops and lifting my hands in praise. I have also seen seasons of pain, where the Lord was my constant companion in the valley of the shadow. And yet, it was there that God strengthened me and taught me how to offer the sacrifice of praise, upon my knees in humility and total dependence on Him alone. The blessings of indestructible joy were found there in the hard days. The depths of joy were intense as God showed me that living in close relationship with Him was the most beautiful and satisfying treasure. There are treasures untold in those places if you faithfully walk with the Lord through those trials, clinging to His hand alone and immersing yourself in His Word.
“I am the vine, you are the branches…”
Throughout my life, God has taught me that trials are indeed a blessing…
who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God -2 Corinthians 1:4
Reading that verse as a young woman brought hope to my heart. Trusting that God could take those refining seasons of my life and use them for His glory and bring about a blessing for others, brought purpose to seasons of pain or depression. I longed to know the explanation for my pain and why God was taking me through it, but even more so, I longed for none of it to be wasted. My prayer during that time was, “Lord, use every moment of this struggle for Your glory alone.”
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. -Ephesians 1:3-6
Each Christian, no matter where you live, is called to be a blessing to the world out of the abundance of spiritual riches in Christ. You are called to be a blessing in your sphere of influence, and the Word of God is to transform your living in that sphere so that God’s Word will go forth and seeds of redemption can be planted on this Earth to grow a harvest of righteousness. We are blessed in Christ with all spiritual blessings that we may be a blessing.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. -Isaiah 61:11