“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth...sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:15, 21
This past year has been a whirlwind for me. I came into 2012 knowing the Lord was calling me to blog on a daily basis and trust in His provision on what I was to write about each day. Truly, I pictured a quiet year as I looked ahead to just writing, home schooling, and hobby farming. But, into the mix of what I pictured as one year quietly devoted to writing and living off the land, God threw in quite the mix of difficult circumstances and situations that made my life anything but quiet, but which did provide a lot of material for me to write about.
As I was reading through one of my regular devotionals this morning, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, I came across something I wrote in its margin that sparked a truth deep within my heart. Here is what I had written: “To 'know' much is to suffer much – the suffering is not in vain.” This short note written to myself some years ago, confirmed once again in my mind how the Lord has been working in my life up until this very day. But even more so, theses words penned to myself helped solidify some things the Lord has been asking me to process about where He is directing my future. As I look ahead into the new year, not losing sight of the knowledge God has given me in the places which He has allowed me to suffer for Him, I feel all the more confident in making the necessary adjustments I need to for where I am feeling calling in the new year.
As I have been praying and talking with a few people about where I see my calling for the new year being refined in its focus, I see the underpinnings of the suffering I have been through in my past as the foundational strength for this refined path the Lord is leading me towards – one that takes the broken and messy places of my past, along with the victorious workings of the Lord, and mixes them all together to showcase the great and mighty work that can be done out of a simple willingness to be open and honest about where I have come from and how I owe all that I am to a gracious and merciful God.
“But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27
Unwittingly, I think people often look at my life and see the end product of what God has done in and through it, and think maybe I have some superior knowledge or extraordinary connection with God. I, on the other hand, know better than to think such things. Rather, I feel greatly humbled each day in which I even have been given the capacity to do anything of small or great account for my Lord and King because I know the desolate, sinful, and humble pit the Lord pulled me from and which I am naturally bent to return to. It is by God's work alone that I have the ability to walk on the ground He puts before me each day, and it is from within all that He has allowed me to suffer through that my greatest testimony for Him has been formed. My only job is to keep going, to keep seeking, and to keep myself disciplined and in shape for wherever I may be called to step out in faith for next.
What about you? Have you thought or prayed much about what the Lord has for you next year? We may not know what tomorrow may hold and we are told not to plan for days that we may never see or have, but not being prepared for where the Lord is directing you is also a sinful way to look at life. If the Lord is calling you to prepare, you best make ready because you do not know when or where those preparations are going to be needed. The year ahead, by the looks of the preparations the Lord has set before me, appears to be another exciting adventure into knowing Him and His provisions in even greater ways then I have known Him in the past. What the actual year ahead holds for me, I cannot even fathom to guess. But, living the adventure without knowing anything about the road ahead is where faith and trust must do their work and where the nature of God becomes all the clearer to those willing to travel it and seek Him along with each and every step.
Are you determined to live next year for the Lord? Your willingness starts today in praying for God to lead you into the preparations He wants you to make before January 1st is upon you. The Lord does not consider obedience to Him as big or small work – all obedience is the same to the Lord and everything He directs us to work in, He multiplies for His kingdom, His purposes, and His glory – none is in vain and will all be accounted for.
“...be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58