Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
It’s New Year’s Day! Another year has passed. What a great time to thank Him for all that He has done! Indeed all my Facebook friends have been posting memories and testimonies of God’s goodness and all His blessings. One of the common phrases I see nowadays is “my heart is full” which is appropriate when the remembering is much like reaping joyfully from God’s garden of delights. He is undoubtedly the Giver of gifts and to these I say Amen and Amen. All glory belongs to Him who has done marvelous things. All thanks be to Him who has given His Son and in Him has given us all. He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32
It is equally fitting, however, to reflect on what God has taken away and to be reminded that His goodness is manifest when He takes just as much as when He gives. For some of us, we look back at the year and we don’t see a garden of delights but a wilderness of sorts. When it seemed like He closed a door, when the music we were enjoying came to a stop. When that which we treasured was broken. When a loved one said goodbye. When we were displaced from what was familiar and comfortable. He was loving us in all of these. There is something unspeakably precious in being emptied by Him who works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Hopefully, we have come to agree with the apostle Paul when he said, But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me 2 Cor 12:9.
In her book, Even Better than Eden, Nancy Guthrie wrote: “If you’ve come to the end of yourself, if you’ve been emptied by your delusions of strength, you’re at just the right place to be filled by the goodness of God. You’re finally fillable, you’re fully dependent, there is room for the power of Christ to rest on you in such a way that it will give you the strength to be content even as you continue to live your life in the wilderness of this world.”
To be emptied of ourselves so that we can be filled by Him – let this be the desire of our hearts as we begin another year. Let’s put aside any earthly bucket list, which is just a re-branding of what Solomon described ages ago in Ecclesiastes – a chasing after the wind; because the truth is, contentment remains elusive despite successfully checking off items on such a list. We can also delete the YOLO (You Only Live Once) mantra that is so embraced in our culture, that prompts the pursuit of as many “amazing/beyond belief” experiences as possible, often without regard for what God truly wants for us and of us within this finite time-frame called life.
Only Christ satisfies. Only He is worth pursuing. What is truly deserving of the words amazing and beyond belief is the fact that He pursued us and continues to do so.
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. Psalm 107:9
The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied. Proverbs 19:23
Let us come before Him today like an empty cup waiting to be filled by His truth and grace. Happy New Year!!!