“The Lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.”
- Psalm 138:8, NLT
Standing outside in my patio on a summer day in 2009 is the picture that keeps coming across mind in 2019, even more-so as we end the year, and decade. On that specific day I honestly didn’t know what to expect out of life. You see, I was praying for God to help me get through just another day. Hoping He would answer my prayer and give me another chance at life. Now, it is a moment tattooed in my memory for decades to come. Once a moment filled with uncertainty has also become the moment which gives me certainty of what to expect out of life regardless of my circumstances.
Speaking of uncertainty, the end of the year can be a time many of us don’t really know what to expect for the new year. Yes-we have our goals, and things we hope to expect, but don’t know exactly what’s next for us in this journey of life. Especially after you have parted ways from friendships, relationships, jobs, home, opportunities, and don’t know how to welcome the “new” you weren’t used to. The new year or a new season is exciting and yet overwhelming. We often forget all the amazing lessons we learned the year before as we get ready to enter the upcoming year. It’s like everything has become a blur and we can’t seem to find one thing wonderful we did or accomplished in 2019. You mean to tell me in all of the 365 days you did not do one thing you are proud of?
That’s what happens when you focus too much on the unknown things. Focusing on what we don’t know can cause us to ignore what we do know. It can cause us to be ungrateful to God for all that He’s done. For me, this time of the year is when I focus on what I know more than what I don’t and thank God for what He’s done. The end of the year is a time for us to be grateful for where we are and where we’re going. If you are a believer, you can only go forward and up. Your future is greater than your past! I want you to understand as we wrap up 2019 that each year has its ups, downs, successes and disappointments. If you had a hard time embracing all of them, next year you will be presented again with each. Friend, there are some cycles that never end. What has helped me to embrace each is “knowing” God’s plan no matter the outcome remains immovable. Therefore, if anything, my mind should dwell on my successes more than the disappointments.
For He already destined me to prosper—-according to Jeremiah 29:11. Doesn’t that just make you feel like shouting?! What we need to do is stop swimming in our failures and instead start marinating in the promises of God and our expected end—God’s plan. And His plan for your life is beyond good! Embrace it today and stop beating yourself for how bad yesterday was and what hasn’t happened yet. Embrace what has and rejoice in what is to come!
Another thing I learned this year is that ultimately whatever outcome I desire is directly link to my faith and attitude. The more grateful I am about the good and the bad, the more space I create to welcome the good that God always had in store for me. The good things He has in store for us become tangible when we live a life of faith and obedience to Him. When we learn to move each time He speaks “everything we need will be added on to us.” We will have success in every area of our lives and the weight of anxiety just falls off our shoulders.
In 2019, I learned having uncertainty regarding somethings concerning our lives doesn’t mean we have a lack of faith! Just because I don’t have all the answers doesn’t mean I doubt God’s abilities and His presence in my life. So, if you are uncertain about somethings, it’s okay! Don’t beat yourself up about it. We waste time doing this when we should be trusting God even more! That’s what I had to do for the majority of 2019. Learning to trust Him even when He doesn’t answer in a way I expected. Learning to trust Him without knowing how long until answers to specific prayers will manifest in the natural! There are things we can plan for and pray for, but ultimately God has a set time for them to manifest! The Lord has left somethings “hidden” from us for a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is to surprise us, other times it’s to tests us, or simply prepare us for what we asked for! Most importantly, God does it so we don’t boast in ourselves, or anyone else, BUT IN HIM ALONE.
When He does answer these prayers of ours He wants us to become speechless. The speechless that silences our pride and exhorts our praise toward Him!
Out of all the things I have learned this year the theme the Holy Spirit brought to light the most is “God’s timing and faith.” 2019 taught me a lot about both, such as the two are linked in a phenomenal way! He revealed to me, “Our faith is able to accelerate God’s timing.”
When The Holy Spirit shared this with me I was shook and didn’t not know how to act. For a long time, I’ve heard people speak about God’s timing, but never heard them break it down and explain “What it is?” Or “How can one discern His timing for something to occur?” Yet alone hear about the possibility that believers can “accelerate God’s timing,” Get out of here! Ok, ok, let’s not get too carried away. This doesn’t mean we can manipulate, or use God to get whatever we want.
God is still the CEO of our lives! Yet He respect our faith so much that He’d even answer prayers within the timeframe we’re believing Him to ACT. Though I can’t see your face, I have a feeling after you’ve read the previous statement you’re probably raising those brows of yours, saying to yourself, “Is she saying we can give God orders?” If you were thinking that my answer to you is, “NO.” We can’t give God orders, but we can give Him requests! He encourages us to give our requests to Him with faith and thanksgiving! And if your faith is present you can expect God to move and act on your behalf! Nothing we ask is too big or small for God to answer. I don’t know about you, but I love when someone share a story, or an example to break truth down for me. It gets the GOOD TRUTH right into my heart and spirit. If you’re the same way, then you won’t mind me sharing this example, to explain my previous statement as it relates to “God’s timing and faith.”
There’s a woman by the name of Sarah. She went to the doctor after discovering there is a lump behind her left arm. After seeing the primary physician, she referred Sarah to a specialist to check the lump to give an accurate diagnosis. To see whether it is cancerous or not. The following week she had an appointment with the specialist and unfortunately, Sarah’s tumor was indeed cancerous. In fact, the cancer spread throughout her body. The specialist wanted her to immediately start Chemo to help treat her condition. After Sarah’s first round of Chemo the doctors realized there is nothing more they could do. They told Sarah she only had six months to live!
I want to stop here and focus on , “six months to live,” part of this example. When we read “six months” it indicates to us a TIME PERIOD. From reading, we know Sarah receives the report from the doctors she has this amount of time left until she dies from cancer. It’s important for me to point this out from the example to show you Sarah, being a believer, is not going to pray to God for a miracle or healing next year, but within or before six months for God to heal her of cancer! Sister does not have the time to wait until then. According to the report, her condition is worsening as the days progress.
According to Isaiah 53:5, …”By his stripes we are healed.” It is God’s will to heal us from pain and sickness. I do understand at times His will for some is to be with Him in glory. Not all will receive the healing the way they’d like. Does that mean God heals some of us, but not all of us? Healing is already given to all of us! The verse didn’t say, “By His stripes some will be healed, some will not healed,” No! It says, “By His Stripes “we” implying that all are healed.” God has already done it, even if that healing doesn’t manifest physically for some.
Let’s go back to the example I was sharing concerning, Sarah. We see a woman hearing the news she’s about to die in six months. God being “All-Knowing” is aware of the news and knew ahead of time before she did. But, here is where I want to take you. The Bible tells us God is pleased by our faith! Sarah is a believer and so she prays for God to heal hear before or within the six months. She prays not “hoping” God will do it, but declaring back to God what He’s already done (Isaiah 53:5), and in her prayer, she puts a time stamp on it! “Jesus, I’m asking you according to Isaiah 53:5, that you would heal me of this cancer within the next six months, or even before that, Lord.”
Some folks think people like Sarah are just crazy! They don’t see faith they see someone who perhaps is mentally challenged. “How can someone ask such a thing?” They say. But God applauds a faith such as Sarah’s to ask Him what she wants because she knows what she wants is in His will. “ For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.“ (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV). And, guess what, y’all? The good Lord grant her SPECIFIC request!
The story I shared is an example used to express the truth to you. However, do know there are real-life accounts such as this one of God answering prayers of His faithful servants, his sons and daughters with great faith! Listen, as you get ready to enter 2020 know that (due dates) Time Stamps don’t intimidate God! Don’t be afraid to make your prayers specific. If your prayers are specific to the point where you ask God to do a thing within an exact time frame, don’t let people bring you down for doing so. You’ll have some people tell you that you don’t respect “God’s timing” if you do. Those same people are the ones who’ve been hiding behind the “God’s timing” excuse to stop themselves from exercising their faith! Can I be real with you for a sec? The truth is they are just lazy! So, lazy… they don’t want to be specific with their prayers because it means spending more time than usual in the prayer closet. Those type of people expect God to bless them without exercising their faith! Something which God didn’t do even for Abraham. Listen, he didn’t become the Father of many nations without exercising his faith, y’all! God expects the same from us to today! As we we get ready to say goodbye to 2019, let’s say goodbye to hiding behind “God’s timing” to excuse ourselves from doing the work to show for our faith!
Let’s understand and embrace the role of faith in “God’s timing.”
Let’s partner our faith and action to see the tangible reality of God’s word and promises in our lives.
Let’s do our part and trust God to do His!
Let’s remember faith is active and you know what that means? Where there is faith you can expect God to show up! The present time is always the right time for a miracle! Each day belongs to God and can be the time He chooses to bless you! Because He is not bound by time. In other words, always be ready for the unexpected. I think you’re getting it now? Aye! I’m glad I get it now, too! The Holy Spirit’s explanation of “God’s timing and faith” was definitely one of my highlights this year. Ready to take 2020 with unstoppable faith! With a truth so good, you can’t live on the sidelines.
Friend, I’m thankful to have lived another year! I’m grateful for all that 2019 had to offer because in the end they all will eventually work out for our good (Romans 8:28). God is still faithful, and His PLAN for your life and mine will remain! Period. Take that with you into 2020! I pray for God to shower you with His goodness and faithfulness in 2020, as you continue to master your TRUST in Him and exercise your faith.
2020 is going to be your best year yet!