I was recently asked, "What was the best and the worst thing that has happened to you this year?" The first thing that came into my mind as the best thing that happened was when God "blessed my socks off" (see Aug 30 posting.) It was so unexpected and so above and beyond my imagination; it was so God!
God tells us in Scripture that we are to remember all the things He has done for us, probably because we're so prone to forget. At the end of Joshua 3, Israel was called to cross the Jordan river, which happened to be at flood stage at the time. When the priests leading the procession took a step of faith (literally) into the deep waters, the water was held back before and behind them so they could cross on dry ground.
"When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, "Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight"...to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, `What do these stones mean?' tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever." ~ Joshua 4:1-3, 6-7
What was the best thing that has happened to you this year? What kind of reminder can you give yourself so that you don't forget and can tell others what God has done for you? I write things down. In fact, I write all the "cool God stuff" in my journal in a different color ink so that when I need encouragement those blessings just jump out at me. Not a writer? Perhaps you could have a photo or small item to remind you of an event. Then, when someone looks at it, you can say, "Let me tell you the God story behind that..."
I really haven't come up with an answer to the question, "What is the worst thing that happened?" I think that is a good thing because it means:
A) Nothing tremendously negative has happened, and
B) I'm becoming more focused on the positive than on the negative.
In Philippians 3, Paul shared his desire to live a life totally focused on Christ. Though he continued to fall short, he kept persuing it. "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 3:12-14.
New Year's is traditionally a time of looking back and looking ahead. I think it's a good idea to stop every now and then and examine our lives. Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:15 that "God will call the past to account." Yes, it's good (and necessary) to look back and assess our shortcomings so that we can ask for forgiveness and make the necessary changes in our lives, but once we've done that we need to follow Paul's example by leaving our past in the past and focusing on what is ahead.
Where is God calling you to take a step of faith this year? What are you going to do to become more like Christ? Write it down, look at it often, and celebrate what God is doing in your life!
Lord, yesterday You called Bob and I to take a step of faith; to commit to something that, practically speaking, doesn't look like something we can do. Today something happened to make it seem even more impossible. Father, help us to be obedient regardless of how things look to us. Help us to take that step of faith so that we can look back and be amazed at your provision! Thank you for always equipping us for what you've called us to do. With all my love and devotion, Lisa.