Dec18WedDecember 18, 2019
We have come to the close of 2019 and await the dawn of a new decade! Perhaps you have already seen posts on social media or watched programs on television which seek to recapture the developments and milestones that have occurred over the past ten years. As Christians, such transitional moments can also be ripe seasons for seeking spiritual direction. As many of you know, I was gifted with a wonderful opportunity to take a spiritual retreat recently. This included many hours of intentionally exercising my mind, body and spirit. I read, I walked and I prayed while being disconnected from normal responsibilities and various forms of entertainment. If you have never spent hours of solitude with the Lord, I highly recommend it! As David professed in Psalm 23, the Lord certainly does “restore the soul.”
Part of the retreat afforded me some time for prayerful reflection upon 2019. While reading through portions of Ezekiel, in keeping with our Daily Scripture Reading plan, the Lord seemed to emphasize one of the phrases which is repeated frequently throughout the book. The phrase is: “Then they will know that I am the Lord.” Often, this phrase is given in the context of great, God-ordained hardship. Yet, what the Lord spoke to my heart is that He wants me to remember this truth in all circumstances. Whether I am spiritually lifted upon the mountaintops or emotionally walking through the valley, He longs for me, and for all of His people, to exalt the reality that He remains fixed in His role as Lord!
When difficult seasons come and heart-aches mount, I tend to move into the role of “fixer.” I tend to think, “What can I do to make this better? Perhaps, I am sufficient to smooth this out.” However, what I end up doing is dethroning God (so to speak) and become deaf to the lesson which God wants me to learn. I’ve recently began to read a book by Warren Wiersbe for the sake of my new coaching relationship with retired pastor Phil Somers. In the book, Warren says, “When these difficulties come, our tendency is to pray for deliverance instead of growth. We ask the Lord “How can I get out of this?” instead of “What can I get out of this?” When we do that, we miss the opportunities God give us to develop spiritual maturity.”
Whether we anticipate them or not, difficult seasons always come. Perhaps, you have lived through one recently. Perhaps you are in such a moment right now. If so, you are not alone.
The reality is that we live in a sinful word wrought with corruption, conflict and unholy ambitions. Our physical bodies are made of dust (Gen. 3:19) and we easily compound difficulties upon ourselves due to our own self-absorbed agendas. All of this deeply grieves our Heavenly Father. But realizing of our hopeless condition is the beginning of a bright anchor of hope.
Because of Jesus’ incarnation, which we celebrate this Christmas season, and His obedience to the point of death upon a cross, Jesus sat down at the right hand of God after rising from the dead (Col. 3:1) and currently holds all things together by the power of His word (Heb. 1:3, Col. 1:17). In other words, the King is on His throne. Oh, how we would benefit to remember this every single day of the New Year! But even now, as you hear the familiar Christmas hymns, take time to remember and celebrate His divine authority. O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!