The most common year-ender reflection is to think of the things that went well and did not go well the entire year. This is to basically think of things or circumstances that we should be thankful to God for, and think of how we can change or improve for the better next year. These reflections have become the backbone for most of our new year’s resolutions.
I usually do this type of reflection, too. After all, we are called to be thankful in all circumstances for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). But I recently realized that this type of reflection had also led me to focus on “my” things and circumstances and not on who the Lord is — “What happened to me”, instead of “What God was to me this past year”.
This year was tough — the toughest year so far since I personally received Jesus in my life. Honestly, there were moments, especially when December entered, when I felt like I just wanted this year to be over. I faced persecution and betrayal on another level, my Bible study leader went home to rest with her personal Lord and Savior, I transitioned to another ministry area, started teaching in a university, faced difficulties at work and even graduate school, committed to a 6-month discipleship plan, and received “Wait even more” as an answer to some prayers.
But to reflect on this year and consider it tough is still easy and practical. It is when I think of how God was to me and how my personal relationship with Him was like this past year that gives joy and an eternal perspective.
I realized that this year, even the past years, was not without God’s grace. I am unable to reach this very hour, let alone write this tonight, if God was not gracious. I am unable to love and receive love without His grace. I am unable to move forward from goodbyes and to embrace hellos without His grace.
It was God’s grace that pulled me back to Him from my mishaps and mistakes. It was God’s grace that pushed me out of my comfort zones – always sufficient in power for my weaknesses. It was God who knew my every need and provided for me. It was God who taught and sustained me to press on in spite and despite of. It was God who gave victories and breakthroughs, even new chapters.
God has been so good — and this is an understatement from someone who does not deserve Him. “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—NOT BECAUSE OF ANYTHING WE HAVE DONE but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,” (2 Timothy 1:9).
God’s graciousness is the highlight of my year. How about you? What was God to you this 2019?