This year is only a few weeks old...but I see it clearly now. As with every year, there is usually a theme that runs through - a message loud that strikes deep in the soul from Heaven and says: remember this.
Much has happened in this year's short arrival: friends have miraculously survived horrific car accidents; I've lived through one of the biggest earthquakes in my state's history; I've seen God lead and show up in ways unpredictable and unplanned. He has spoken with clear distinction: 2016 is the year for faith. There will undoubtably be moments of uncertainty and trial, moments that are also intermingled with joy and everything prosperous and plentiful. But through it all will sound the message: this is all Mine - trust me. Believe.
Perhaps this is where I can sense Him the best: in those times when the road is unclear and the steps seem only marked one at a time - put your feet here...then here...and so on. Perhaps this will be the way in which He will show up the biggest: in those times when I simply say, I may not understand, but I still believe; I may not see it all now, but I still trust. I choose faith over fear. One put it well as the year was turning: no fear new year. Yes...yes...banish all distractions; toss aside the fear. This is His year. The year when He promises to do big things if only our eyes and hearts are open and we choose to believe Him...even if the way isn't clear at the time.
In the midst of my reflection on this, the words from Abigail Adams, one of America's finest women, who herself knew uncertainty, who spent years without her husband as he fought the political battles of the day, who witnessed the death of two of her sons before her own passing...this woman tasted suffering. This woman knew what choosing faith meant. Because she had to live it..time and time again. As a war raged on and her oldest son, a mere teenager, was with her husband in France, she wrote the following to him in the winter of 1780:
"It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. Would Cicero have shone so distinguished an orator, if he had not been roused, kindled, and enflamed by the tyranny of Catiline, Millo, Verres, and Mark Anthony. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. All of history will convince you of this, and that wisdom and penetration are the fruits of experience, not the lessons of retirement and leisure. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life, and form the character of the hero and statesman. "
I take this and press it deep into my heart: the image of a woman writing these words down centuries ago and it runs down the long line of history to me...me...and her truth rings loud - choose faith over fear. It was applicable then during a wartime and it is applicable to me in the war of everyday...of deciding to believe God no matter the circumstances. To trust Him no matter what the future brings. In this year, I take for my theme the beautiful words spoken to the ancient prophet Jeremiah:
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (Jeremiah 33:3)
God is already proving in this year, young as it is, that He holds the whole world and all that takes place within it in His mighty and capable hands. There is nothing that is impossible for Him. He has said so Himself. And I believe He will fulfill it in full. With an eager heart, I await His many miracles, blessings, and promised wonders that He will reveal in the coming days, weeks, and months. So...with eyes and heart wide open, I say, Come new year...my Jesus has "great and mighty things" in store that I do not know. I will rejoice in my Savior whatever comes my way because my heart can always say that everything is grace.