Last year, I began 2017 under a dark cloud. There was no reason for it. It was just there, and it coloured my world with shadow and, even though the phrase may bring other thoughts to mind, with many shades of grey. I couldn’t shake it off. As the year progressed it was always there, at the back of my mind, in my plans and dreams and hopes; in the good times – and in the sad. A sense of foreboding, a dread.
I never did find out what caused it. Things happened, life changed, but always there was hope, and love, and the presence of God.
I said goodbye to friends, I moved away from the church where I had been rooted for thirty two years. Perhaps that was it. God whispered to me it was time I left, and invited me to walk a narrow path with Him alone. I had been comfortable, and people knew me and I was loved there. So this was not an easy thing to do.
But when God said “It’s time,” I knew I could not stay. And so together we wandered through a little wilderness, from one church to another, oases in the desert of not belonging, until I came to a small congregation where I feel, for the moment, God is saying to me, “Stay here and rest awhile”. And He is giving me bread and wine under the shade of this little church – so different to the one I have left – and He is giving me space and acceptance and love.
And as I worship Him there, with new songs and new prayers and new ways, I feel His presence and the breath of the Holy Spirit as I come to terms with new people and the unfamiliar that surrounds me.
Other changes have taken place – some of them good and exciting, others which are still in the process of unfolding, which will be life-changing.
“Why,” I ask God, “Why do they all have to happen at once? Couldn’t I have stayed with my familiar church family and let them help me through these changes?”
“No,” He replies. “This time it’s just you and Me. I am sufficient for you. I will provide for you. I have a plan for you which you do not understand at the moment. But as the days pass you will see I am doing a new thing. Trust Me, for I love you and will not leave you alone.”
How can I argue with that? God has been faithful in the past. He will not change. He is the only unchangeable factor in my life. So once again I put my hand in His, I give Him my heart, and I take the first step of faith into the New Year.
2018 has begun. It is full of colour and promise. Yes, change is ahead, but it is all part of God’s plan and in that, although it may make me sad, I find, even now, a sense of peace and contentment.
May 2018 be a year when you walk with God and may He bless you richly as you take His hand and make that first step.