Sometimes all you can do is cry, and pray, and wait. And trust that God is in control, even when it takes every ounce of faith inside you to catch even a glimpse of that.
I wish I could say I spend my New Year’s Eve in a glamorous way. I didn’t.
At 10 pm on Sunday night, my family went to bed, and I washed dishes alone, in my kitchen. I played a worship album two times over, and fell to my knees and cried all the tears I’d been holding in for a week. I prayer journaled and dedicated my year to Jesus, and tiptoed into my living room to watch the ball drop in the darkness of my house, holding a flute of formerly-sparkling cider.
3…2…1…and, it’s 2018. Everyone celebrate with your friends and lovers, but I’m still over here alone. I flicked on Netflix to numb my thoughts, and played that worship album again as I drifted off to sleep.
God is faithful. The words echo in my head, and as I think about one word that would define 2017, it’s that one – faithful.
Over and over, God spoke. Both in the loud and in the quiet, in rooms full of worshipers and in the solitude of my bedroom, He confirmed those three little words, time and time again – I. Am. Faithful.
Gracious, good, perfect God, remind me again what Your faithfulness looks like, won’t you? Because I’m stuck in a long, hard season of waiting right now, like I’m teetering on the edge of a cliff, and gravity hasn’t yet decided if I’m going to stay or if I’m going to fall. Oh, how I need you.
Monday morning wasn’t much better. I overslept by four hours – and started my day in sobs, overwhelmed by both emotion and exhaustion, working through uncertainty and stolen peace. What a way to start the new year…not.
And so on the first day of 2018, I cry. I pray. I wait. And a little Voice tells me to just trust. But it’s hard.
Because maybe I won’t get a beautiful happily ever after. Maybe the storms and darkness will come and overtake me, maybe all the plans I craft for myself will crumble to pieces. Maybe my degree won’t lead to anything – maybe I’ll fall in love with the wrong one – maybe all my waiting will turn me idle and I’ll slip slowly into cynicism – maybe God will stop speaking to me.
That’s the voice of fear; fear’s a liar.
And in 2018, and for the rest of my life, I do not want to listen to fear before I listen to my Savior. Fear is a liar, and fear leads us deeper into our selves, searching for answers and seeking comfort where there is none. But faith pushes us closer to Jesus.
Fear is, “My life will never turn out the way I want it to – there is no hope here.” Faith isn’t, “In the name of Jesus, I believe my life will turn out just as I want it to!” Faith is, “God, my life is Yours – and I trust that the plan You have for me is greater than any one I could orchestrate on my own.”
Greater doesn’t mean easier. Greater doesn’t mean safer. Greater doesn’t mean less painful or less difficult or less complicated.
But greater is better, because God is there. His presence overtakes the darkness, His love overwhelms our greatest fears that we’ll never be enough. His grace overshadows all our failure and gives us purpose where there once was none.
A life spent in the presence and will of God is so much better than a life spent trying to find one’s way alone, chasing a life we think we want, for a goal that won’t be worth it in the end.
Uncertainty still exists. I’m there now. Sometimes I cry when I’m alone, and my prayer journal has a lot of pleas of, “Lord, help me trust You.”
I don’t have it all figured out, but hope hasn’t left.
I was talking to a friend recently, about fear and hope and anticipating the future. And I said, “Roller coasters are exhilarating because you know you’ll live. Jumping off a building is terrifying because you know you’ll die. When you lose hope for a good ending, terror’s the instinct.”
Because we have the hope of a promised future, we have eternal life in Christ and the living Spirit of God inside us, fear has no place. Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
He who promised is faithful.
And the more that we spend time in the Word of God, the more we center our minds and hearts on Him, the more we spend our energy worshiping rather than worrying, the more we’ll find that to be true. As we seek Him, and fill our minds with truth rather than the voices of fear, we will be able to be filled with a peace that passes understanding, a joy abundant, a hope assured.
It’s okay to cry – it’s okay to be broken. But it’s not okay to stay there. As we are overwhelmed with our problems, may we seek Jesus and be overwhelmed by grace instead. As our hearts crack and bleed and all we can do is cry, may we open out hearts to be filled with His joy, a joy that comes from nothing on this earth but Him.
As uncertainty hits, may we seek His peace – a peace that doesn’t make sense, when everything seems to be crumbling around us – a peace that’s unshakable through all the storms that come our way, because that peace is rooted in something so much greater.
We can never afford to let our doubts and fears steal the peace that Christ has promised.
In John 16:33, Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
So sure, cry. Cry because life is hard and sometimes it seems so hard to catch a break. But pray too. Pray hard, pray honestly, pray earnestly. Because He hears. And He doesn’t just hear, He listens, and He answers, and He never leaves us on our own.
And trust in His faithfulness. God’s character is consistent; He does not change, and neither should our circumstances change our view of Him. Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” There are no exceptions to His goodness, no expiration date on His faithfulness, no disclaimer to His love.
To place our trust in this God is to forever have a hope secured. And though we cry, we pray too, and we trust the God who holds all of reality in His hands. We trust Him because He’s faithful.
1 Corinthians 1:9
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
We trust Him because He’s good.
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”
We trust Him because He gives us strength; we trust Him because He sustains us; we trust Him because He is good and worthy of our praise, our thanks, our everything.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”
If you’re in this season of waiting – of the calendar changing but life staying the same – of pain and confusion and heartache – of hardship and uncertainty, and worry about the days ahead –
You’re not alone. I’m with you here, and so many others are too. But we’re not without hope, because we build our lives on the promises of God. Fear is the thief of peace – so as we go into this new year, may we put our hope in Christ alone, and let Him handle what we cannot.