Even though I’ve known the Lord most of my life, it still amazes me how exceedingly, awesomely good he is. 2023 was a year of highs and lows for me, and now on this last day of it, I’ve been recalling his faithfulness. Many lessons of the year should have been old hat to me, but it seems it was important to learn them again.
Here’s what I learned (again) about God…
He answers prayer, specifically, at just the right time. We started the year having just lost my Dad and were under a time constraint to clean out his home and 60-year art career. It was daunting, but each day as we prayed for guidance and help, just the right answer or person would show up at just the right time. Truly, we were not on our own, and it all got done, on time.
He sees what’s coming and has a plan for it. From the time my Dad was hospitalized and throughout the ensuing months, it was just incredible to come to each situation, each need, and find that God had already gone before and arranged an answer—or a miracle. Why do I ever worry? He already has everything covered!
He heals my body. I suffered covid-related paralysis in one eye just before Christmas last year. It was terrifying, especially because the doctors couldn’t help. I had a Bible promise quickened to my heart from the Lord that I would recover—and I did! One day, a couple of weeks later, my eye opened and my sight began to return, fully restored not long after. Thank you, Lord!
His comfort is real. I miss my Dad and the loving presence he was in my life. Other things—changes in friendships, loss of relationships, things not happening when I thought they would, disappointments—God has been there to comfort and reassure me that his plan is good and purpose sure.
He really is my Shepherd. There have been days I’ve been tired, discouraged, frustrated, or overwhelmed. But so often God intervened to cancel events, or have a friend text with an encouraging word, or he gave me the perfect, right word from the Bible to lift my spirits. He knows when I need rest and quietness and has scheduled the stops along the way. It’s been wonderful to know such care.
When I don’t know what to do, he does. For some reason, this year has been the year of challenging tech—computer problems, new programs, steep learning curves with complex processes (virtual conferences, anyone?)…you know how it goes. But over and over, he’s directed me to the right information or helped me figure something out. There’s just nothing like his wisdom.
He defends me. This year brought some targeted persecution because of my faith, and at one point, I just had to cry out to the Lord to intervene. Suddenly, it ended and I knew he had done it. I truly felt he had moved between me and the attack, standing as my Defender. He said, “Enough!” and it was.
When he asks me to wait, it doesn’t mean no, it means wait. As a type A, ducks-in-a-row person, I usually see little reason to wait if I’ve got things figured out. Seize the day! But a very keen lesson the Lord has been revisiting this year has been the importance of waiting on him. Most things with him are a process and I’ve needed to surrender my heart and thoughts daily to his Lordship. His timetable is different than mine—and his results are always better.
His Word is true. The theme God gave me at the beginning of the year was, “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3 NIV). In the craziness of the world and its darkness, God’s Word is the unchangeable rock of Truth I can count on. I’ve learned again that if I believe what he promises, he will do what he says.
Jesus loves me, this I know. In a million ways this year, I’ve seen his tender, personal love. It has reduced me to tears many times just knowing I’m that cared for. This is the God we belong to, the One who calls us his own and has held nothing back to save and bless us.
I’m sure you have your own list of God’s blessings on your life this year; I wish I could hear them all! May we take these fresh reminders into 2024 and by them, learn to trust him more.
A happy—and blessed—New Year!
Photo by Kostiantyn Li on Unsplash