In general, 2015 has been a difficult year for me in many respects. It has been a year that forced me to practice what I preach, especially when it comes to my faith walk. At no other time in my life have I had to live by faith like this past year. In the natural, there was never enough provision, resources and support. Had it not been for God’s intervention, I would not have survived this year.
Emotionally, it has been a roller coaster ride. Broken-heartedness, hopelessness and confusion were constant companions. Were it not for the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit, I do not know how I would have remained sane. This past year, I have come to fully appreciate the person of the Holy Spirit, especially one of his characteristics, that of being a Comforter.
That being said, I’m still here. Hallelujah! You know, it’s so easy to witness about God when all is going well. When our finances are okay; when things are going well in our relationships; when our health is good and so on, it is so easy to say God is good and ‘oh taste and see that the Lord is good’. But when the going gets tough, it’s a different story. Yet God himself assures us that even in our darkest and hardest times, he’s still with us. He says that when we go through the fire he’s with us; when we go through the flood he’s right there with us!
As hard as this year has been, I have never doubted God’s presence in my life! Even when in the natural it seemed like he had deserted me, I knew in my spirit that he was there. Even when my mind accused him of neglecting and not caring about me, my spirit prevailed. Many a times, my mind would provoke me and tell me that if God really cared about me he would provide; he would fight the battles I was facing; he would rectify and vindicate me for wrongs done to me. But I thank God that the Holy Spirit helped me to ward off those attacks brought on by the devil through my mind.
In retrospect, only one thing caused me to survive this year; the WORD. To be honest, there were times when praying didn’t help; it was like my prayers were empty. At times, I couldn’t pray at all! Praise and worship, which usually uplifted me, would not do the trick. Quiet time with the Lord oftentimes turned out to be a Questions and Answers session, only no answers were forthcoming.
Throughout this gruelling year, it has been the Word that kept me going. And not just any word, mind you, but a set of words that God had spoken to me before the year began. I believe that God knew what I would come up against this year and so gave me these words to sustain me. And sustain me they did! When I felt myself sinking; when the gross weight of troubles seemed like they were suffocating the life out of me, the words would just come to my remembrance. He only spoke them to me once; but they echoed in my spirit throughout this whole year, especially when the going got tough. I now know what Paul meant when he said that God holds everything together by the power of his Word. He held my life together by his word!
And so, as this year draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank God. It may have been a tough year but I’m still alive, some are not. I did not desert the faith; some did. I have not grown bitter, but wiser; I have not grown weaker, but stronger. I cannot take the credit. It was Him, his Word, that got me through. Whatever you have experienced this year; painful or blissful; good or bad; just know that He is God, he never changes. Don’t let your negative experiences distort your perception of who God really is.
As I look forward to the soon coming new year, I am filled with anticipation. As always, he has already given me words for the new year, and I know, from experience, that those words will see me through whatever comes in the new year.
My advice to you, as this year draws to a close, is that you ask God to give you a specific word for the year ahead; a word that will carry you and sustain throughout the whole year. By doing so, come hell or high water, you will make it through the next year.
Happy New Year and may God bless you abundantly!