I have something to confess. A few months ago, I was scared to enter 2017. I don’t know how 2016 was for you but for me, I know it was a trying year. It has been a year where the unexpected happened. One of my immediate family members was diagnosed with cancer and then later cleared (glory to God), I spent my birthday this year in a hospital, depression tried to knock on my door numerous times, lost some friends on the way and experienced rejection in a new way. Whilst 2016 did have some great times, it came with unexpected circumstances and in addition to this, certain things which I was believing for didn’t come to pass.
Has He forgotten me?
As I got to around September this year, I began to really reflect on the last few years of my life and how they’ve been. I began to think about how different 2016 had been in comparison to how I thought it would be and then I began to consider if 2017 would be even harder. I also began to wonder how many “Happy New Years” I would experience before some of the major promises I’m believing God for come to pass. A lot of the things that God’s promised me, I’m yet to see. Whether they are related to myself, my family, my own personal healing, future spouse etc.- In all these things I am in the waiting game like many of you. As I began to reflect on the past few years of my life, I began to think for the first time in a while “What if God doesn’t come through?” This was a recipe for disaster as I began to doubt everything.
One of my friends went through a period where she doubted every promise God had made towards her and even His purpose for her life. I related with her to an extent but I don’t think I truly understood until I went through it myself. My gosh, did I understand then. Honestly, I began to even question why I was serving God. I began to think “Did I leave the world to serve a God who would leave me out in the cold, does He not see me on my knees crying for more of Him? Does He not see how much my soul needs Him, does He not see how much my family needs Him, does He even see me, am I invisible?” I didn’t know anymore… I wasn’t sure anymore… I felt like God was coming through for everyone but me. I began to compare my story to others and it felt like in comparison my prayers were hitting the ceiling unheard by the creator- I didn’t want another year of that.
Time went on and God began to minister to me directly and through people. He began to remind me of His goodness, sovereignty and love towards me. I then began to accept what I knew deep down was the truth- God will not fail me. The same way God encouraged me is how I want to encourage you. Despite what you may or may not have experienced this year, whether it be the death of a loved one or another year of disappointment; God has not and will not fail you. It is not possible for Him to fail it isn’t in His nature.
After I once again accepted the truth about God’s nature I decided to spend some time studying the accounts of people whose breakthroughs took some years. Amongst many, there are two who I’ll use as examples.
Technicolour Coat Joseph
“We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.”
Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”(Gen 40:8)
I’ll start with Joseph. I read this account often because I can relate to it in 101 ways but what I love is how Joseph continuously stayed faithful to God even when his reality looked completely different to his dreams. At the end of yet another year in jail, it might have been so tempting to just give up believing or to just think “well… another year has gone, what’s the point of thinking God will come through next year.” Joseph could have stopped interpreting dreams and lost faith in God’s promise for his life. Instead, he continued to interpret dreams, believe in God and this is what led him to freedom.
The woman with the issue of blood
- When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
- Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.(Mark 5:27-29)
She had been waiting for her breakthrough for more than a decade. This is why no matter how many years have passed, you must remain full of faith. It is by faith that she obtained God’s promise for her life. This is the same for me and importantly, the same for you. You may have been bleeding for years, you may have even become dead inside and full of disappointment but moments with Him change EVERYTHING.
Maybe as the years have gone by, you’ve started to wonder if that family member will ever become saved, or whether that sickness will go away but when God changes a circumstance, everything is changed. The world has never been the same since God spoke in Genesis 1. When His hands move on something, it can never go back to its old form. The word assures us that if we pray according to His will, He hears us(1 John 5:14) and that God will avenge His people who cry day and night even though He bears long with them (Luke 18:7). Yes sometimes God bears long but only when it is for your good for Him to do so. Sometimes, the promises you thought you needed in a particular year would have been disastrous for you if you had received it then.
Stay expectant and trusting this upcoming year and beyond. I cannot promise this year to be a year of X, Y and Z. But know that if God’s promised it, its a matter of when not if. Stand strong. Keep your hands and minds continuously open, for God to freely give and freely take away.
Trials and tribulations will come. But Christ has come and He will never let us sink. As long as we trust in Him, we will walk on water. He is the God with command over the elements of this earth. What and whom can we fear with Him on our side?
How do I feel about entering 2017 now? Excited, hopeful and at peace. Every now and again, fear tries to re-enter but I remind myself of His goodness until fear flees. He’s got me and He’s got you. Regardless of whatever may come our way, He’s already won the victory for all the battles of 2017 till eternity and beyond. His promises over us WILL come to pass and He won’t let us down. If 2016 was a bad year for you, shake it off. Choose to remain faithful, thankful and expectant. Not everyone has made it this far but you have and that’s because there’s still so many great things ahead of you. Remember that.
Now let’s walk into 2017 with confidence. I pray that God does great things in you, through you, for you and around you in 2017.
2017 here we come!!