I am 25 years old and to this day, I have never made a New Years’ Resolution, and don’t plan on changing that any time soon. I don’t condemn those that do make such resolutions, but I just haven’t been in a place in my life where I felt the need. Statistics show that most New Years’ Resolutions die by the end of January. They are commitments that we try to make in order to somehow better ourselves, whether it’s to get in shape, read the Bible more, travel more, or be with our family more, they never seem to last very long. I don’t want to try to speculate why, mainly because that is not the point of this article and I would probably be wrong in my speculation.
What I do want to do in this article is to encourage you in your walk with God in 2019 (Boy, that’s weird to say, or, rather, type). I don’t know how your 2018 went, specifically, but maybe it wasn’t all you were hoping it to be. Maybe it surpassed all your expectation and you had the best year of your life. As we sit at the beginning of January, both could be true about your 2019. I’d like to think that 2019 will go well for all of us, but if we’re being honest, that is probably not what is going to happen. Triumphs will be accompanied with hurts. Joy will come with despair. There may be times that we wonder what God is up to. I have found myself in that situation more than a few times in my life. Feel encouraged yet?
In Psalm 23, one of the more popular and beautiful pieces of scripture in the Bible, David tells how God makes a table for him in the presence of his enemies and that even though he walks through the valley of the shadow of death, God is with him. This psalm is believed to have been written at the end of David’s life, after he went through the hardship of Bathsheba, and his son Absalom committing treason and mutiny against him. After he had killed Goliath and led Israel to days of prosperity. You want to look at someone who faced all sorts of ups and downs? Look at David’s life. He knew what it meant to follow God through the hard times as well as the joyous times. And here is the encouraging part. We are all like David in this respect. We all face ups and downs, but at the end of the day, God is still good. God is still on the throne in heaven. God still loves you. God still wants you to be a part of His family.
Job is a great example of this. Job is one of my favorite Old Testament books. God blessed Job for the first half of his life because of Job’s faithfulness to God. He was very wealthy, had a big family, and a great relationship with God. What more could one want? It all changes when Satan enters the picture and, with the permission of God, takes away all the important things in Job’s life (except his wife. I wonder why?) However, Job never stops praising God. He accepts that God is on the throne and is worthy of praise in the highs and lows. Because of Job’s faith in God and persistence with his friends to defend God, God blesses Job even more in the second half of his life with more wealth, a bigger family, and, I think it’s okay to assume, a richer idea of what it means to follow God. And if you ever question who God is and what He is capable of doing, I strongly encourage you to read Job chapters 38-41. Talk about a powerful, amazing God! It gets me excited just talking about it. That’s the God I serve.
Look, I don’t know what 2019 will bring for you or me. I sincerely hope it’s a good year, but I do know that whatever happens to us, whatever good comes our way or whatever bad drags us down, God is constant. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I hope that encourages you, because it certainly encourages me in my life. So, no matter how much we change, or what resolutions we make, and subsequently fail at fulfilling, God is still in charge, and in that, I find great joy.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21