As you look at your life, what would you love to see happen? Maybe you’d like to lose 20 lbs., worry less, get a better job, improve your grades, find a really close friend, get a new car, experience more of the Holy Spirit, build a house, or increase your production (or your cow’s production).
What is it for you? What do you really want to see happen in 2023? ___________________________________________
If you haven’t answered that in a clear, concise statement yet, do it. This won’t be helpful unless you know what’s going on in your heart and mind. What are you hoping for?
Now the tough question…
Why hasn’t God already given you what you are hoping for?
There are several possible stoppers, like hoping for something that’s just bad for you or bad for you now. But I want to focus on a couple other stoppers…
1. Maybe you are thinking, “God hates me and wants me to suffer.” I hope you know enough of the Bible to not let this determine your destiny. Contrary to what many say, God does hate the sinner (Ps. 11:5), but that doesn’t mean we are without hope.
The Israelites had the same concern when they faced the challenge of entering the promised land, saying “The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us.” (Deut. 1:27)
They failed to see God’s providence and love in the midst of hardship, so Moses responded to them, saying “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” (Deut. 1:29-31) What incredible compassion the Father has! Yet, we want to make him out to be the bad guy, when we are the one’s rejecting him and his good gifts. David did write, “The Lord …hates the wicked and those who love to do violence.” (Ps. 11:5) So, maybe you do need to do a 180 and celebrate some of the blessings God has given you. He is not the hater the world claims He is. The breath in your lungs is a gift; the clothes you wear are a gift; the loved ones in your life are a gift. Rejoice in what God has given and you’ve taken a step in the right direction.
2. Another possibility is that God is teaching you something. This is probably applicable to all of us in many situations. God’s goal for us is to be like Christ, so if we need to be more content, pray more, or learn more Scripture, God may hold back fixing our problems or giving us gifts in order to motivate us to grow in some way. The only way you will know what he is teaching is to listen to Him. Dig into Scripture and bow in prayer. Then I recommend journaling what you sense God saying to you.
3. The final stopper I will address is that God is waiting for you to take a step of faith. If you are longing for a new job, but you are too afraid to send in a resume, God may be waiting for you to act. Whatever you are hoping for may require you to step boldly forward into the water before he parts the sea. Peter would never have walked on water if he hadn’t stepped out of the boat. What step of faith is God wanting you to take today? Take it!
So, if you want to see God work in 2023 in some specific way, let me urge you to rejoice, listen, and move.
Prayer: Lord, help me rejoice in the good things you have given; help me listen for what you are teaching me; and help me step out in faith.
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