I, as many of you, enjoyed the start of a new year and all the possibilities it may bring- unchartered territory and adventure ahead, especially with teenagers in the house. As fireworks blast into the air on New Year’s Eve, I was flooded with memories from the past year. As I remembered circumstances from the past year I realized I subconsciously categorized them into two categories: good and bad.
After my inventory of good and bad circumstances of 2013, I gave 2013 the grade of “good”. Feeling blessed my good outweighed the bad, unlike many years in my past, I went on without giving it much more thought.
A couple of weeks into our New Year, God seemed to echo Genesis 1 in my thoughts. I kept going back to “and God saw that it was good.” God chose to create our world in stages. He created the world in His timing and in the order that He wanted to and then He looked at each work of creation and proclaimed that it was good.
It was then that I realized that I had analyzed my circumstances from this past year instead of God’s work. I had remembered the jobs opportunities, my kids’ behavior, my house repairs, finances, friends, family, sicknesses and deaths. I looked at each situation with a circumstantial focus, which is not the equivalent of God’s focus. I was reminded God’s focus is on our heart.
The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
So I began to reflect back once again on the year that had just come to a close, but this time I tried to remember the heart that engulfed those circumstances. How did my heart respond to friends, family, strangers, loss, gifts, opportunities given and opportunities taken away? What were my heart’s reactions when faced with both trials and treasures? God continually works in us to make us more like Him. This past year each one of the circumstances, which I had viewed as situations that either I benefited from or harmed me, God was using to minister to my heart so that I would be more like Him. Now for this I needed more than two categories; you see, there had been good in my heart along with bad. Sadly I think I saw some ugly.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory,
are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
Each year that passes believers are being transformed to be like our Lord.
Now looking back on some situations, where before I only saw the hurt feelings and disappointments, I now can see God’s subtle whispers of warning. Warnings of: use caution with your tongue, your priorities are becoming blurred, be kinder, and love the people in your path. Unfortunately, I must confess many times those whispers were never heard because of busyness and selfishness. Some of the whispers had to become louder than I would have liked. A few had to be loud enough for me to hear over my own voice. Those are the ugly.
But God’s word promises me that His mercies are new every morning so I am receiving that merciful grace and determined to grow in the next year so much that when I hear a whisper from my heavenly father I will respond with quiet and seek His word so that I will hear His voice and not mine.
God has reminded me as this first month of the new year comes to an end, that He has called us to be the light of the world and that when our hearts forgive others, love others, minister to others and pray for others we are that light that brings God glory.
Ephesians 5:8-10 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of the light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,
righteousness and truth and find out what pleases the Lord.
So my goal for this next year will be to live as a child of light in all my daily tasks. I pray that my ears and eyes are tuned in closer to see His hand and hear His voice. Reminded of whom I belong to and the power available through Him, I am committed to produce the fruit of light. Oh, to hear the words “and God saw that is was good.”