Here we are. Today marks the final day of the year. Tomorrow we step into 2014; a new year; a new chapter; a new beginning.
This time last year, I was anxious to leave 2012 behind with all of its cares and pains. Looking ahead one year ago, I thought 2013 was sure to be spectacular and, dare I say, easy.
Oh that I might learn to accept, with grace and joy, the uneasy! May I crave the difficult, the painful, and even the sorrow because it is only by fire that the hard can be made soft. I understand this more now. 2013 softened me. It broke me. And I am better because of it. 2013 was a wonderful year, but it was sprinkled with a lot of pain and unrest in my soul. Some of my struggles, I have shared. Others, I have not and never will. All things considered, I am thankful for everything 2013 held for me because I am entering the upcoming year with a newfound knowledge of Jesus and a renewed love for my Savior.
Last night on my Facebook, I asked for my friends to describe 2013 in one word. I saw a lot of different descriptions of what the year had held for them.
I thought about it for hours. What one word could I find that would sum up the year? After some soul searching and praying, it came to me. If I had to describe 2013 in one word, it is:
The Dictionary defines "upheld" as:
to support or defend, as against opposition or criticism.
to keep up or keep from sinking; support.
to lift upward; raise.
Matthew 14:22-31 tells the story of Peter walking on the water. Verses 29-31 say:
"And he (Jesus) said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
We tend to look down on Peter, don't we? Oh faithless Peter...if only you hadn't doubted....
But at least Peter got out of the boat! Even though he took his eyes off of Jesus - as we all do - and became fearful - as we all are - he did walk on the water, which is more than any of us have done. He stepped out on pure faith and complete trust. And even when his humanity surfaced and he faltered, Jesus did not let him sink. Does that resonate with you? For me, it does.
There were plenty of moments in 2013 when I took my eyes off of the Lord and literally began sinking in my own fear and worries and cares of the world. Yet He upheld me. He reached down, grabbed my hand, lifted me up, and kept me from going under. He upheld me all the way through.
And He will continue to do that. Forever.
As 2014 dawns, my prayer is not "Lord, give us a good year" like it has been so many years before. Instead, my prayer is, "Lord, give me more of You." Totally and completely, I want whatever He wants for my life. As the great hymn writer, Fanny Crosby, wrote, "for I know what'er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well." If I truly believe that He does all things - the painful, the glorious, the fun, and the horribly lonely things - well, then in 2014, I will get out of my boat and walk on water.
I pray in the coming year that you will draw ever nearer to the cross and to the Savoir who loves us so.
Happy New Year!!