When old problems roll into your new year…
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! -Isaiah 30:18
Every new year, we say out with the old in with the new. But, what do you do when the old problems or struggles follow you into New Year?
I’m spending New Year’s in El Paso Texas with my oldest daughter. If you’ve been following me on social media, my daughter and I made two 1600 #roadtrips with her two puppies in the backseat before and after Christmas. We survived.
Yesterday, my daughter had a 24-hour shift at work, so I’ve been on puppy duty. As I walked the dogs toward a neighborhood park, I talked to God about the last 365 days of my life. I gave thanks for so many things: a loving family, supportive friends, good health, financial provision and many wonderful ministry opportunities. And I also plead with God about getting rid of an old unresolved heartache that I didn’t want to follow me into the new year. God, I’ve dealt with this for so long. Do I have to deal with this next year? Any chance you can make this go away by midnight?
What old situation has followed you into a new year?
While this isn’t the place for me to go into details, perhaps you can relate to how I describe the pain. It feels like a 1000-pound weight sits on your heart and cracks it all little each day. On bad days, I feel my heartbeat thumping in my chest and it hurts. This is the pain of being human and living in a fallen world. At this stage in my life, I can only bear to share this pain with the most trustworthy of friends and gratefully, an understanding Christian counselor.
God, my heart hurts…
This morning, God showed me that He heard my prayer on yesterday’s walk. One of the verses in my Bible study today was Isaiah 30:18: “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”
God used this verse today to remind me of His heart toward me. The first day of this new year is a part of God’s gracefulness to me and you. Every time we say goodbye to a loved one, we are reminded of the preciousness of life. You’ve made it into the new year! No matter how much you don’t like what’s carried over from the old year, you’ve made it into the new one – and not everyone can say that!
Every day from God is a gift that we don’t deserve. Additionally, God longs to pour His graciousness into every deep crack in our heart and fill in those broken fissures with Himself. That’s actually the visual that I use when I’m praying through difficult days: God, my heart is broken right now. Please come and fill in those broken places with Yourself.” Just like the Kintsugi artists use liquid gold to fuse together broken pottery, God’s grace is that He infuses Himself into our heartache.
The last part of that verse say “Blessed are all who wait for him.” What does it mean to wait for God? Before my daughter takes her puppies outside, she makes them sit before snapping on their leashes. Then she says the word, “wait.” Both puppies must to sit until she gives them the command to move forward. While they are waiting, the dogs’ eyes are fixed on her face. Now, when I told them that it was time to sit, the results were pretty spotty. Those puppies love my daughter. I’m just the random lady who took them on a few walks.
The word wait in Isaiah 30:18 means to long for. When the puppies hear the word “wait,” they fix their focus on my daughter and sit until she tells them to move. For us, waiting is focus on an unknown period of time, but spiritually, our waiting should be a fixating on a Person.
Why is this important? When we’re waiting on something that isn’t happening, our hearts get weighed down and discouraged (Proverbs 13:12). But, when we’re fixated on God, we actually get stronger and can accomplish more (Isaiah 40:31)
Are you currently weighted down by the old situation that has followed you into the new year OR are you waiting on God and enjoying the blessing of His grace and compassion?
Might I offer two next steps if you’re dealing with an old situation in this new year?
First, start with talking to God and surrender the heavy weight of your old situation over to Him. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to give all of our worries and cares to God because He cares about us. One of my favorite movie lines is “Get off the cross, honey. Somebody needs the wood.”
“God, it’s a new year, but I don’t want to carry the pain around of this situation anymore. If it isn’t your timing to remove this hardship from my life, then God, I’m asking you to renew my heart and filling in the broken places with yourself.”
Second, increase your longing for God to keeping your eyes focused on him. Corrie ten Boom once said, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.”
One suggestion is to sign-up for resources like ReFocus App, My First 5, YouVersion or livingitout.tv that will deliver a devotional or verse of the day directly to you. But, don’t just sign up and think something will change. Set aside 15 minutes per day to read and reflect. The more you fix your heart and mind on God, the more you’ll focus on Him – and the more blessed you will be.
That’s what happened to me today. As I spent time in my Bible study and writing this post, God has truly blessed me today. Even as my old situation follows me into a new year, I’m going to be like my daughter’s puppies and keep my eyes focused on God as I wait on Him.
SHARE WITH US: Is there an old situation that you are dealing with in the new year? How has reading this post and Isaiah 30:18 encouraged you? Leave your comments below.