Monday, December 31, 2018

Saying Goodbye to My 2018 Star Word

On the first Sunday of 2018, we gave out stars in worship.  Each one had a word on it, a word about which we were to seek God.  My word for 2018 was "coming."  I thought it was too mundane a word, so I didn't expect much from it, but I'd preached on how to seek God about our words, so I did what I said to do.  I prayed, I searched the Bible, I pondered.  The scripture that stuck, and that has been my Facebook cover photo for most of the year is Isaiah 60:22:

At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.

Not that I, Melissa, will make it happen.
Not that someone else in my life will make it happen.
Not that someone else in the world will make it happen.
God will make it happen.
Because there are some things that only God can do.
And even the things that I can make happen will work much better if I do them with God, in God's timing, and with God's strength.

Sometimes I still charge ahead, but I have been more careful about that this year.   There have been more moments of asking God, "Now?" I've realized that sometimes I charged ahead because I felt guilty about not doing something, anything, rather than wait.

There was a point at which I heard God saying, "Don't do this now," and I did it anyway, and it went ok but it didn't go tremendously well.  I felt better for having done something, and I didn't beat myself up for it not going as well as I'd hoped because I knew it wasn't the right time and I'd done it anyway.  I learned some things, and learning is good.  Most of all I learned that I can do better if I listen to God.

This silly little star word "coming" is the meaning of the fancier word "advent" which we use for a whole season in December when we talk so much about Jesus coming the first time and that he's coming again.  And we say, sometimes rather tritely, that Jesus comes now whenever we let him into our hearts and into our lives.  I prefer to work on abiding with Jesus, remembering that he is with us always (Matt. 28:20), and that God is always holding our hand (Isaiah 41:13).  But just because he's always here doesn't mean the results are always instant, so "coming" has reminded me that God's making things happen even when I think nothing's happening.  This has helped me to keep on praying for things I think are impossible or that I have no idea how to fix or are beyond my reach.

"Coming" reminds me of the story in Daniel 10 in which Daniel prays and when the angel shows up three weeks later, he says that God had heard Daniel and sent this angel, but he'd been delayed:
"But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia" (Daniel 10:13).
The answer was coming, the angel was coming, but there was a heavenly battle happening.  Daniel could do nothing about any of that except wait and keep praying, and this year my star word "coming" has reminded me to do the same.

I'm surprised to find that just like last year I'm a little sad to say goodbye to this star word.  It's been a good little friend pointing me to God in some unexpected ways.

Thanks, God.


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