Written by Roxie Groen
“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over), He’s all I’ve got left”
Lamentations 3:22-24 (MSG)
Have you ever experienced a moment of intense clarity? That moment where you may not understand everything that led you here – but suddenly it doesn’t matter anymore? I love this about Scripture – even though we know it to be the unwavering truth, I’ve come to learn that it is so easy to allow the messiness of life creep in a rob us of that peace and joy.
I may not know you, but I’ll be honest nonetheless – the last twelve months have been anything but easy. There have been unexpected roadblocks, disappointments and valleys that led to dark days. The days stretched into sleepless nights that became weeks of anxiety and doubt that left me unable to get out of bed in the morning. Believe me, I know it’s not a pretty picture – but it was my reality. And it’s exactly where God met me.
As 2018 came to an end, I felt myself breathe a sigh of relief. Though weathered by the last year, I had managed to survive. I remember the moment so clearly, standing in the back of church, watching my roommate lead worship on a Sunday evening. The silent prayer I prayed, “Thank you Jesus, I survived. I’m ready to forget this year happened and move on.” And then came my moment of clarity.
It didn’t hit me like a freight train or knock the wind out of me. It was a whisper, spoken with kindness and a gentleness I can’t explain. “It’s a new year, but I am the same God.” I’m not sure what the last few days, weeks or years of your life have looked like. But I am sure of this – God is the same yesterday, today and forever. As Christians we are called to change, our job is to live a life of daily surrender as we pursue the one who never changes (Jesus) and draw closer to Him.
There is no guarantee that life will be perfect or easy – but there is a promise that God never leaves us or forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:6). One of my things about God is that He knows us – and embraces our humanity. Have you ever noticed that in the Old Testament God refers to himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? He doesn’t do this because He’s trying to a word count or give Himself a title. (He’s God, does need any more of an explanation?) No, God does that because the Israelites needed that constant reminder of who God was. They needed to be reminded that the God who delivered them from slavery, who led them to the Promised Land, is the same God who was with them always.
It’s the same reminder that I needed on that Sunday evening in church – the God who called you out of the boat (shout out to Peter) is the same God who will sustain you on the water. When I felt like I was at the end of myself, God met me there. And it’s the same God who met me in the solitude of my room who goes before me in the years to come. I don’t know what the next twelve months hold for me – but I know that in the last few weeks God has already done exceedingly, abundantly above anything I could have imagined. All I needed to do was learn (once again) to lean into Him, into His grace and His mercies that are new every morning.
My pastor Bobbie Houston once said, “Heavenly calling involves endless remembrance and endless reminders.” Every time we gather around communion I am reminded of the power of the cross – the power of what Jesus did by giving it all for me and you. How beautiful is the promise of life in His death and resurrection? As Christians, I believe it is crucial to our lives out of a place of remembrance – but also how often do we allow ourselves the accept the endless reminders of our calling, gifting and the grace of God? As tough as the last year has been for me, it has taught me to lean into the goodness of God, to His strength. It’s taught me not to allow the messiness of life to rob me of the joy I have found in pursuing Jesus and leaning into the calling God has entrusted me with.
Ministry is not always easy, people are people, life happens. But know this – whatever it’s looked like in the past – whatever fear you have of the future. Know that God has gone before you, He knows you. He is not surprised by your present circumstances – and He loves you with an everlasting love. My favourite Bible verse is Joshua 1:9 and it says, “Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” I pray that that truth becomes more than just a verse, but a reality in every season of life. God is with you wherever you go.