Refocus

Another year is done. It seems each one goes by just a little faster than the last. Most of us spend time reflecting as these last few days of the year go by. Yesterday as I was driving in the car with my son he asked me how I felt about 2022, what kind of year was it. As I thought about his question, I was reminded of a blog post I wrote back in May called There are Beautiful Days I told him a bit about the post and said that is how I feel about this past year. Overall, the year was rough. Like most of us, I can’t wait to see it go. So many hard days, trying times, heartache, losses, and stress. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Jesus, I really question if I would have made it through in one piece. However, when I look back through my camera roll and think about some of the things we did this past year, and think about the people who stood by me, walked with me, prayed for me, and helped me through, that phrase returns to my mind, there are beautiful days.

As we head into the new year many of us look with hope and expectation to what a new year can mean. A fresh start, new hope, new beginnings. We also tend to look back at the last year with a sense of good riddance. There is nothing wrong with either of those feelings, but as I was reading through a devotion I am doing on the Psalms, my attention was brought to the Psalms of lament. There are so many amazing psalms where the author pours his heart out to God and cries out for help. To me these Psalms are a great example of how to respond as we head into a new year. There is a pattern to these Psalms, the author tells God how he feels, with honestly and truth. (I mean God already knows how we feel, why is it that we think we should try to pretend otherwise when we cry out to him?) Then he presents his needs, cares, and concerns to God. (After all, He is the only one who can change the unchangeable and do the impossible.) But after all that, after the crying, after the weeping, after the pleading, the psalmist refocuses. He speaks truth to himself. He worships, He says this is how I feel, this is what I need but, none of that matters in comparison to you God. I will praise you because you are worthy, I will worship you because you are my God. I trust you Lord, you have been so good to me! Psalm 13 is a great example of this,

Psalm 13 NIV

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts

and day after day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,

and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;

my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing the Lord’s praise,

for he has been good to me.”

I love this Psalm, it is so real and raw. David cries out to God honestly, he doesn’t hold back. God can handle our sorrow, our frustration, our anger, our disappointment. He already knows what we are thinking and feeling, praying like this gives us the chance to give voice to it. God invites us to come to him. What I love most is that in the end David doesn’t leave with the same misery he started out with, he leaves with hope. He leaves with truth, he leaves with the knowledge that God is God and he is not and that he will praise and worship God and trust in Him because His love is unfailing, His promises are true, and He has been so good to him.

As we approach this new year, we can cry for the things that we carry into this new year, we can weep over the hurts of last year but then we leave them with God and refocus our minds on the truth. God is God eternal, He doesn’t get tired, He doesn’t sleep, He created each of us uniquely and knows everything about us. He loves us with a never-ending love. He loved us so much that He sent His son to live for us, die for us, and rise again conquering sin and death so that we could have a relationship with Him. We can trust every moment to Him because He is faithful. I read this great quote this morning and I thought it is a perfect reminder as we say goodbye to this year.

Leave the irreparable past in His hands, and step into the Irresistible Future with Him.” Oswald Chambers

Let’s do just that! Praying a blessed New Year to each of you!

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