I’m tempted to call 2015 the year of careless words.
Words uttered in pain and disappointment. Amidst many careless ones, these three statements stood out: Shame on you God, Shame on you. You have failed me. What have you done for me?
Words that can never be taken back.
They were uttered with a broken and shattered heart. Maybe a bit dramatic, yes I know. But at the time, it didn’t seem like it.
I was angry at you Lord and I felt like you needed to know how I feel about you and your ways. And as I spat at and directed my wrath towards you with my words, you were patient through it all.
Looking back now, I realize that my worries and anxieties stem from me taking my gaze off you and looking at the little gods around me. They whispered and promised little nothings and I easily gave in. But at the end, I was left with unfulfilled promises and unmet longings.
And although you have won the victory and have deprived these things of the power to harm me, I gave in to the little fears of loss, rejection and disappointments. Failing to walk in the victory you’ve won for me, along the way I found myself picking up certain battles to fight on my own.
Many times, I imagined what it would be like for you to leave me alone and let me be but I now worry as to what type of life that would be.
“How have you loved me?”, I found myself asking while in reality there was so much loving being done, so much of it being done by you and it was excruciatingly painful. And that’s only because I resisted and I kept screaming at you, “Don’t love me! You can keep your love. If this is what it feels like to be loved by you. I want none of it.”
Silver or gold you did not give me, but the faith you gave you were determined to make into something more precious than gold. So you kept chipping away. A little here and a little there. Like the potter and clay in Jeremiah, I was the clay you crushed in brokenness because you had something better in mind.
The work is not yet finished and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And it is true Lord, that I am not alone.
That for many of us, there were disappointments but you were also disappointed when your disciples that should have stayed up with you to watch and pray in your most difficult moment chose to take a nap instead. There were rejections Lord, but you know the true meaning of rejection when those you came to save would have nothing to do with you.
Many felt the sting of betrayal but ours was nothing compared to yours when the one that you chose to follow you, that ate and dined with you sold you out for a few pieces of silver.
There were tears, shame and brokenness, but you were mocked, beaten, ridiculed and pierced.
Many felt beaten down during the year but you endured great stripes for us. And many of us truly fell short Lord Jesus but you continually stood before the Father interceding on our behalf.
And you died Lord Jesus, you truly did die so that we may live.
And Lord, we look to you as we are going into a new year. We know that you are the good shepherd and as a good shepherd lays at the door while the sheep lays in the barn, Lord we ask that nothing will come to us unless it passes through you first.
That no pain, no joy, no disappointment, no promotion, no betrayal, no laughter, no loss, no achievement, no brokenness of heart, no success, no discouragement, no encouragement, no persecution nor suffering will come to us unless it has been sanctified by you and you’ve seen that it will aide in our enjoyment of abundant life in you.
No matter what the new year holds for us, please help us remember that, as in the words of C.S. Lewis, although you are not safe, you are good. And not that we need to ask, but we pray that you will give us nothing less than yourself.
Even in the scars, wounds and all of 2016, we pray that we will remember that you are good. And in the laughter, success and prosperity, you are even better.
May we come to trust you, love you and know you even more than we already do. We throw ourselves at your mercy Lord, your mercy is good.
You have given all of yourself to us, the least and greatest thing we can do is to give all of ourselves to you.
Help us to know and believe that you are better and more satisfying. And nothing can ever measure up. Not even the many silvers and golds of the world.