I wrote this yesterday to a young man who is a spiritual son to me. His real mum is in his country of birth, close to where Jesus himself walked this dusty earth.
I wanted to share it here because it speaks of all the things I hold dear and of my own weaknesses.
It is natural to look back over the last year on the first day of the new. I have many thoughts to share but I will start with this letter and wish you every blessing as you begin a brand new year with me, trusting for His strength and grace to provide all we need in every situation. Thank you for being part of my journey.
Dear Ryan, thank you so much for your kind thoughts and for your sincere desire to please our Heavenly Father. As you have already found, the closer you draw yourself to Him, the more opposition and hardship you will experience and as you are tested, you will become more and more like Jesus. It's not that God wants to test you, it is a result of being in the world, but not of it.
Sometimes it is our own human nature that is against us (emotions, thoughts) and we are our own worst enemies. Sometimes it is friends or family who are used to attack us for daring to be righteous. Sometimes it is strangers, an obvious spiritual battle they don't even understand themselves. Worst of all, for me at least, is other people who call themselves "Christians". They are the toughest battles of all. To stand firm in your faith against that kind of attack brings you closer to Jesus than anything else!
Jesus did not have an easy life. He was reviled, persecuted and wrongly accused, betrayed, abused and tortured, humiliated and scorned, but through it all He showed pure love and was always willing to forgive those who sinned against Him. This is the God who became man whom we love and obey, wanting to please Him more than any other, wanting to show others His love and compassion against all odds. We count it a privilege to serve Him and know our reward will be an eternity in heaven with Him.
I think we all need time out to look at our lives, reassess our priorities and seek God's will for our lives. That's a healthy thing to do Ryan. Then we just take one day at a time, trust Him and do what's right. Things like your car breaking down are a nuisance, happened to me last week, but they are also opportunities to remind us that we cannot do this life alone, we need family and friends to help us sometimes, so we do not get too proud for God to be able to use us. See it as an opportunity to trust Him and He will provide what you need! That's a promise!
One day at a time, rejoicing in His love and grace, knowing we are not worthy but He loves us and accepts us even though we will always be a "work in progress", in this life anyway!
Have a Happy New Year Ryan, do not be so hard on yourself and enjoy your life. Serve Him and show the people around you all the fruits of the spirit that are at work in you, love and joy, peace and patience, kindness, gentleness and self control. The last one is so important. I used to think that just meant not doing the wrong thing but now I understand it often means doing the right thing, even when you don't feel like it or it is inconvenient or difficult.
It's been my honour and privilege to know you Ryan, and it delights me to know you love the Lord as you do : )
God bless you and Happy New Year in Jesus name : )