I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Yodit Kifle Smith
What a year! I think we can agree to that.
Some of us are sighing a heavy sigh of mental relief that we are in the last week of 2020 because we are more than ready to say goodbye! There are others of us who have experienced some amazing things despite the chaos of the year and then there are some of us who are probably thinking that not much will change in 2021 and are a bit indifferent to the year ending.
We have all experienced this year and interpreted this year differently but we know that there are lessons learned through it all. Every devotional that has been written this year has sought to lift your eyes to Him, the One whose nearness is truly our GOOD.
Now, there’s nothing really magical that happens during the last week of the year but there is something special about being still and reflecting on God’s faithfulness, His steadfast love, His provision, His sustenance, and His nearness this year.
Isn’t it mind-blowing that God’s faithfulness to us isn’t based on our faithfulness to Him? (2 Timothy 2:13) If I’m honest, this year has caused me to become so weary of so much and when my spirit was weak to even turn to His Word, His faithfulness drew my weary heart—even if it felt like it was dragging. I thank God that the faithful work He’s begun in us (Phil. 1:6) hasn’t taken a pause EVEN when we felt stagnant. Have you praised God for His faithfulness?
His Steadfast Love:
Since I’m being very honest--my love grew cold towards others this year after seeing some of the insensitivity they had towards the injustices that occurred. I found myself growing bitter towards the very things that were put in place to protect people. And the colder and more bitter I grew, the farther I stayed away from coming to the Lord. And you know what I found, that as long as I wasn’t going to the Lord, my heart became more hardened. And it was through His very Word that reminded me that God’s steadfast love isn’t threatened by a hardened heart---it welcomes it because He alone is the only that can turn a heart of stone to a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). His steadfast love loved me through the hardness and opened my heart to pray for what I grew bitter towards and that made all the difference. Have you praised God for His steadfast love?
We may not have gotten what we wanted this year but God’s provision is never truly about our wants as they are our needs. And not even the needs that we think we need but the need He knows we need. His word reminds us in Matthew 6:25-34 just how much more valuable we are than the birds of the air that have their needs met daily by our good Father. How much more would our needs be met by the very Creator whose image we bear? Can you praise God that every need was met for you this year?
One of my favorite verses in Psalm 63:8, “My soul clings to you, Your right hand upholds me.” It’s the reminder that I may be holding God’s hand but it’s really His grip that’s sustaining me. I’m like that 2-year-old who although they are holding tight to their parent’s hand, it’s really the grip of the parent that’s keeping them from falling. And I’ve come to see that clearly this year and I’m so grateful. Have you praised God for His sustenance?
We just celebrated Christmas, reflecting on how Immanuel, “God with us” has made all the difference in our lives. The nearness of God isn’t about an emotional experience; Rather, it’s the deep knowing and believing that His Words are true and His word tells us that He is with us—not in the “I’m with you,” that we may get from a loved one who encourages us but an actual “I live with you, abiding IN you,” kind of with you. This nearness is what the Psalmist in Psalm 73:28 acknowledges as “his good.” No other good can compare than the truth that God’s very presence no longer has to be accessed through a priest but now His presence has come to us and is with every one of us who have confessed Jesus as Lord. This presence is our comfort. Our guide. Our hope. Our very life. Have you praised God for His nearness?
Sisters, may our souls shout “HALLELUJAH” as we take the moment to reflect and praise for all that God is to us and all He’s done for us this year.
As we enter 2021, it’s the same GOD that goes before us and lives within us.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
2 Timothy 2:13
Questions to Reflect on: