Another new year. Twelve fresh months untouched by human hand, by change, by my plans, shortcomings, or successes. As we begin this new year I find it harder than ever to look ahead, without first reflecting on the past twelve months. This January in particular, as I look back, it is so easy to say “wow, it was a really hard year”. I carry wounds from the past twelve months and as I was thinking of the year to come, that made it so hard for me to look ahead with an eager and hopeful heart.
While 2015 was the end of a huge chapter of my life (STINT, working for Cru, etc.), it didn’t feel like an end because so many things were staying the same. Well, maybe just because I was just so focused on all that was staying the same. I was so focused on the fact that I was going to still be far away from my family and friends, that I was going to have to continue to miss everyone and live big moments via Facetime, that I was going to have to live life in Spanish, maybe feel inconvenienced, maybe be lonely or afraid, deal with unending paperwork, VISA/residency requirements, and more.
Now, don’t get me wrong, by definition 2015 was a hard year. I had to organize real life in Uruguay, find a job, figure out a VISA, a drivers license, a bank account, and so much more in another country. Top that off with health problems, countless doctors appointments (all in another language) and many unanswered questions there. All of this while being 6000 miles from my mom, best friends, and entire support system. So yes, it was a hard year, but in reflection I have to realize that while I was so busy being blinded by the old, hard stuff, I was failing to see that God is always making things new.
As I talked with dear friends, and finally rested after a long year, I was struck by my negativity and refreshed by God’s truth. I realized that I was so focused on the old, the stuff that wasn’t changing, the things that weren’t going to go away, that I had failed to remember who my God is. In all of my doubt, He provided a job (where I can speak English and get paid enough to survive Uruguay’s high cost of living!) so quickly and easily. In health problems and fear, He provided a new support system in Fede and his parents. In being far away from home, He provided me with a new family to take care of me, feed me, and comfort me. He provided way beyond what I, with my little tiny faith, ever expected. He took the bad and He used it for good. He is faithful, He provides, He is a giver of good gifts, He never turns His back on His children.
He is in the business of restoration and He makes all things new.
I don’t know why, but anytime I think of the future I am reminded of how my best friend has always loved how the Old Testament talks about “seers”. A seer in the Bible is a prophet, but more specifically, a prophet who saw visions -images, scenes, or dreams- and was given insight into what God wanted them to understand by these visions. They had a unique gift as God vividly communicated with them and through them.
The term “seer” isn’t used in the New Testament and yeah, we may not be seers of this nature today, but I can’t stop thinking about how I want to be a seer in my own way. I want to communicate with Him vividly and seek Him to gain insight into what He wants and who He is. As I look ahead to a new year, I want to see Him! I want to be more aware of His hand in all things. I don’t want to focus on earthly trouble, overwhelmed by anxiety and blinded to His promises. I want to understand more of His character, His goodness, His mercy. I want to be a seer, doer, and feeler of His grace.
So here’s to 2016.
In these next twelve months may we experience His love, live out His mercy, and see His hand in all things.