On the first day of this year, I sat down with Bible and pen, doggedly waiting, albeit a little desperately, for God to give me a goal for the new year. The word I'd received last year was “Love” - something that forced me many times to question if not my faith then definitely my sanity. Yet, through all the difficult situations – where my love failed time and again – I experienced God's all-encompassing love for me, and specially for those I found it difficult to accept. His love humbled me even as I tried to fight it. It confounded me, because my reactions always tended towards anger and punishment, where His mercy and grace foiled both, neatly. Loving others, the way God does, forced me to deny myself. It was not an easy road to walk, and in no way have I learnt everything there is to know about “Love”, but it has been a year of challenging experiences.
So as 2016 chimed in, I sat down hoping that God's plan for me this year might be a bit less heart-wrenching in terms of challenges. And the word I received was from Jeremiah 9:24 -
“But let him who glories, glory in this. That he understands and knows Me...”
That's a tall order if ever there was one! Yet, what a truly soul-satisfying goal to have as well. To understand and know the God I love and serve; to grow in the knowledge of who He is – the holy, triune God-head; and to understand His character and how He longs for His nature to be revealed in each of us. That is an opportunity for a million soul-stirring challenges. But if each brings me a little nearer to having an intimate knowledge of my Heavenly Father, my Saviour and my Counselor, then it is worth every tear shed, every attitude alteration and every distressing situation.
Jeremiah goes on to describe the person
“whose hope is the Lord...like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out it roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8
Anyone who knows me well, will also know that I have a thing for trees. Simply put, I love them. So this analogy really touches a cord deep inside me and brings the concept to life.
Basically Jeremiah is saying that I can only hope in something I know intimately to be trustworthy. Thus knowing God includes growth (spreading roots) as well as bearing fruit, especially during seasons of drought. I love that rider. What an amazing lifestyle to lead. Being fruitful in the midst of pain and trouble can only happen when my roots dig deep and entrench themselves in the Word of God, drawing strength from the knowledge and understanding I have of who He is and who I am in Him.
So this year, I'm looking forward to throwing off the veneer of superficiality, digging deep, and increasing in the knowledge of the Lord of heaven and earth. For at the end of my life, I want to look back and glory in that.
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