At the closing of each year, we look behind at what the past 12 months have brought and we look ahead, with expectation, to what the next 12 months will bring. And we are hopeful.
When Jesus came to dwell on earth, He came as the Word and Love of God manifested in the flesh. We see Him as the baby in the manger. We see Him as the little one receiving gifts from the kings of the east. We see Him as a child in the Temple about His Father's work. We see Him as a man doing mighty miracles. We see Him as our sacrificial Lamb taking our sin upon Himself on the cross, suffering separation from God all so that we might have access to the Throne of grace. We see Him as the Resurrected King and now seated on the right hand of the Father.
In 2016, I have seen Him as more.
I see Him as One who places His jewels in the fire. I see Him as the One who breaks so that He might rebuild.
I see Him as One who heals the brokenhearted. I see Him as the One who suffers long because of His great love. I see Him as the One who is constant and true. I see Him as the One whose strength can be imparted to us if we will but open our hands.
I see Him as One - the only one - every facet of my heart and life can be entrusted to.
Hudson Taylor once said, "To let my loving Savior work in me His will, my sanctification, is what I would live for by His grace. Abiding, not striving nor struggling; looking off unto Him; trusting Him...Not a striving to have faith... but a looking off to the Faithful One seems all we need; a resting in the Loved One entirely, for time and eternity. ... I looked to Jesus, and when I saw -- oh, how joy flowed!"
As the old year dies and a new year dawns, it is not an opportunity to make a list of resolutions as much as it is an opportunity and an honor to look to Jesus and see Him for more than we thought He was. It's an opportunity to learn of Him; to experience a deeper, abiding love and joy more than ever before. I know for me, 2016 began with a gift-wrapped package of grace, where God handed me a box of ashes that slowly became beautiful gems the more I ran into His arms.
Over and over again, I heard the words, "Do you trust me in the fire?"
"Do you trust that the labor will turn to laughter as you persevere?" "Do you trust that a taste of my agape love is worth more than your self-made version of love?" "Do you trust me to break you so that I can build you better than you were before?" "Do you trust that my grace really is sufficient?" Do you trust Me?
Tomorrow promises a new morning of mercies, just like today. Because, to God, every day gives us the chance to bask in His presence, to feast on His Word, to experience His power and peace, and to embrace His great faithfulness and love no matter the trials or temptations that we war against.
Tomorrow, remember that regardless of what 2017 holds, He remains. Where there is pain, He has a purpose. Where there is fear, He has peace. Where there is weakness, He has strength. Where there is hopelessness, He has hope. Where there is sin, He has grace. Where there is death, He has Life. Wherever you are, He is there. His love never fails. And as we wake tomorrow morning, He will be there with His great love outstretched to us. And just as He has in all the years since time began, He will remain.
Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation.