As 2018 drew to a close, an impulse to creatively commemorate the year took hold of me. I dug out a sketchbook, and smudging graphite on the page, I drew images representing the important events of the past year—the good, the bad, the hard-won victories, and the painful moments. I still have that sketch, and a quick glance at it reminds me of many cherished memories, some of the most powerful being those that felt raw and challenging in the thick of it. When we intentionally pause to remember our best and worst times, we glimpse God’s blessings running through our lives.
God, in his wisdom, invites us to reflect on instances of hardship and heartache in our lives. It’s not for the intention of stewing on our unpleasant feelings, but rather, so we can see God’s redemption and, ultimately, find joy—even at our lowest points. God’s command to the Israelites displays this.
“Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you! That is why I am giving you this command.”
God called them to remember their slavery—an experience undoubtedly filled with sorrow—so that they could dwell on their miraculous redemption. When we look back on some of our hardest times, we see that God is always with us, that he can redeem all things, and that he has a plan for our lives. The realization of these truths is a huge reason for gratitude.
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God, our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
Every blessing, each good moment along with the redemption of the bad ones, is a gift from God. For most people, 2020 proved to be a mixture of disappointments and silver linings. But God allows us to look at both sides and see his powerful, gracious hands at work in our lives. We can delight in the happy times, but we’re also freed from the fear of hard circumstances, because we often find God’s power woven through those moments in marvelous ways. That, dear friends, seems like a blessed life to me.
Do you tend to see blessings only in the comfortable times? As you think back on 2020, what were some of the unexpected blessings? What challenges were the hardest? How did God show up in the midst of those trials?
Take a moment to thank God for the gifts that he has given you. Make a list of three to five blessings in your life, even if it’s something as simple as a cup of morning coffee. Take time to reflect on the ways you’ve witnessed God working in your life, and preserve them through journaling, drawing, or some other medium so that you can look back on those moments in the future.
Father, I come to you in prayer today thankful that I am your child. You have forgiven me and adopted me as your own. You have made me righteous and restored our relationship. I am so grateful that you are my Father. Thank you for loving me. I love you.
Day 6 Focus – To Express My Faith in God’s Ability (Jeremiah 32:17)
Dear God, nothing is too hard for you! Through your great power, all things are possible. All authority is yours, all might is yours, and I know that your victory will be complete. You are amazing, and I worship you. I praise you for your power and presence in my life. You are my God, and you are worthy of all praise.
Day 7 Focus – To Worship God’s Great Name (Proverbs 18:10)
God, I am in awe of you. Your name is a strong tower, a place of protection and safety for me. I praise you as my healer, my shepherd, and my hope. You are my peace, my provider, my righteousness, and my joy. Your name is great, and I worship you.
This post was written by Sarah Pagel, a regular contributor to the LivingitOut.
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