As we settle into this new year, there are many people bubbling with excitement for what is to come. They are hopeful that 2020 will be one of the best years of their lives. However, there are other people walking around in a haze of confusion, struggling to grapple with the difficulties and unmet expectations of 2019. If that is your story, then this blog post is for you. 2019 may have had amazing days of revelation, laughter, love and time with family; however, it was also a year that you experienced many delays, push backs, and attacks from the enemy. Because of this, the thought of entering into a new year has no appeal of excitement that it does for the next person. In fact, you might be fighting discouragement and disappointment, believing the lie of the enemy that 2020 will be the same way. I know what it’s like to think that way and be in that place, because I was there. I felt weighed down by everything that I faced in 2019. The tests and trials made me physically, emotionally and spiritually weary, and to be honest, when I heard people prophecy that 2020 would be a great year for me, I scoffed, thinking to myself, “Well, you said the same thing about 2019.” So, trust me, I know what you’re feeling, and I get it. I get it 100%.
However, I want to share with you what God has shared with me when I found myself in that place of cynicism and discouragement. A simple four letter word: PUSH. He told me to push. I felt so tired of holding faith that things would be different. I grew tired of everything that I was up against. I told God how I felt, and He simply told me to push. He told me to keep going. The trials would come, that is apart of the walk, but He reminded me that in Him, I am always victorious. Of course, at the time, I didn’t want to hear that. I wanted to revel in my self-pity, but I’ve realized that I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and if He told me to push and keep going, then that meant He’d give me the strength and the capacity to endure until I received the promise. Below are four things God has taught me as I learned to push:
You must be persistent in the pursuit of your destiny. The enemy will do all that is within his power to keep you down. He will not relent until you are destroyed. Literally, the Word of God tells us that Satan is like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). We must be alert, and understand this. No matter how tough the journey gets, choose to be persistent. Choose to persevere. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. Don’t give up on the promises of God because of your current circumstances. The promise STILL stands. Fight for your promise, and let nothing hold you back. Yes, I know the journey is hard. I know that there are days when you want to throw in the towel and shout “Surrender!”, but greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Persevere. Be persistent. Don’t give up. Choose to be persistent as you walk into 2020. 2019 might not have worked out the way you hoped, but all is not lost. God is a way-maker, and He will do what He promised.
You must understand that God is always good, despite what it is that you’re currently facing. In the midst of it, He has a plan. This truth has been really difficult for me to accept. I struggled with questions like, “God, if you’re good, then why am I suffering?”or “If you’re so good, then why am I not seeing the things you promised me?” I was always honest with God about my doubts and even my anger, and He lovingly brought me to a place of understanding that His ways are nothing like my own and His thoughts are nothing like my thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). There were many days when I would just look up at the sky with tears in my eyes, telling God that I just don’t understand. I didn’t understand what He was doing, but I understood that He is good. God is always good. What you’re facing might not feel good, but that doesn’t mean that God isn’t. Better days are ahead. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). As you walk into 2020, remember that God’s ways are nothing like our own, and we may never be able to fully understand them, but we do understand that He is always good.
In moments of deep despair and discouragement, I learned to offer up sacrifices of praise to the Lord in the midst of my suffering. It is much easier to praise God when everything in your life is working out fine. However, it is much more difficult to praise Him when nothing is going right, or making sense. When the bills aren’t paid, you’ve received a bad report from the doctor, when you're still single after years of asking God for a partner, etc. These are the moments when praise is hard to offer up to God. I’ve realized through my own life that in those moments, praise becomes like a sacrifice. It is you choosing to lay everything on the altar and offer up praise to God in the midst of pain and letting Him know that despite all of it, He is still good. If you find yourself in a season of discouragement, disappointment, grief, pain, etc. ask God for the strength to offer up a sacrifice of praise. Praise Him because of His goodness. He is always deserving of it. Praise Him as you walk into 2020, despite what your circumstances look like.
Proverbs 13:12 tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick You may have entered into 2019 with the expectation that many things in your life would look different, but instead, little has changed and because of this, your heart has become sick. Sick with disappointment, despair, discouragement and even grief as you walk into 2020. I want to remind you today that with God, all things are possible. Don’t lose hope because of unmet expectations. Don’t give up on the fight because your hope has been deferred. Don’t give up on God because your reality doesn’t match what He promised you. God works all things together for the good of those that love Him. Brighter days are coming in 2020. Declare it in faith. Psalm 25:3 says that those who put their hope in the Lord will never be put to shame. God will never allow us to be ashamed when we place our hope in Him. So, hope, again! Walk into this new year hopeful that God will do what He promised.
I assure you that once you ask God for the strength to push, you will walk into 2020 with a newfound hope and joy like never before. Don’t allow the disappointments and difficulties of 2019 to cause you to doubt God’s goodness or His promises for you. PUSH your way through. You will arrive at your destiny, and realize that everything that you went through was to shape and mold you into the person that God has called you to be.