For many of us this year has felt like one wave after another crashing against us. Most of us are just ready for this chapter of the story to be over. I totally understand it. I find myself looking for the fast forward button to get to “the good part” sooner. But God has numbered our days. Each day is precious and there is something to be learned in the here and now that we can miss if our only focus is on rushing ahead to better times.
I will be the first to admit I have grumbled and complained about 2020. But each time I have, there has been this small twinge in my spirit. I have sensed my spirit saying, “Don’t curse these days that God prepared before you even lived one.” 2020 wasn’t left out of God’s story. These days, as hard as they are, are just as holy as our best joy filled days.
The tyranny of the urgent makes it hard to find time to reflect. But I think now more than ever we need to selah. Selah is a Hebrew word found in the Psalms and Habakkuk. It means to pause or reflect. It is a musical term that asked the singers of the psalm to take a moment and let what they are singing really sink in. So much has happened this year, it has become a bit of a blur. If we are rushing to just get through it, it will be easy to miss some of what God is trying to say.
As 2020 comes to a close, take time to selah. What has 2020 taught you about who God is? There are things God is trying to say to each of our hearts. I have only had moments here and there to Selah. But here are a few things I will take with me from 2020.
God never asked for my understanding, He asked for my faithfulness.
God is God, and I am not. I don’t get what God is up to. It doesn’t make sense to me the story He is writing. What He has taught me this year is that I don’t have to understand, I have to trust.
God is not defined by my circumstances.
If I defined God by the things that have happened this year, He would be uncaring and absent. So much of this year I have had more on me than I think I can handle. But God is not defined by my circumstances, rather my circumstances are defined by God. To see God through the lens of my circumstances diminishes who He is.
Knowing who God is is the most important thing to hold on to.
If I don’t know who God is, then I will believe the lies of the enemy when he tries to tell me if God cared my life would be easier. God is good, kind, present, faithful, loving, attentive, powerful, caring, holy, and so much bigger than I can comprehend. He is bigger than the universe, and at the same time calls each star by name (Isa 40:26). At times this year when I have felt I can’t take one more thing, I have cried out to God said, “These circumstances don’t feel good or kind, but You are good and kind and You do not change.” It has been the anchor for my spirit, soul, and body in the midst of the chaos.
My role is to behold Him, not explain Him.
The best advice I ever received is “seek the scripture, strive to know who God is, and when we get to the end of our understanding, all that we need to do is build an altar and worship the extravagant otherness of God.”
We may never fully understand all that God has been up to in 2020. There is a lot of this year that defies explanation and may always remain in the otherness of God. But we can end this year beholding Him.
I end the last devotional of the year with the same prayer I included in the devotional on January 1, 2020:
Thank You, Father, that regardless of what I may face this year, things known and unknown to me, nothing takes You by surprise. You are my Waymaker. You make a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Regardless of what the year brings, You will be with me. Help me stay close to You and learn of You.
© 2020 by Elizabeth Gunter.
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