Blessed are you, God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ.
According to your great mercy, you have caused me to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for me, who, by your power, am being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this I rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, I have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of my faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though I have not seen Him, I love Him. Though I do not now see Him, I believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of my faith, the salvation of my soul."
I need to make an announcement.
God is incredible.
I know something similar is said by a thousand mouths in a thousand seconds in a thousand places, and perhaps we become too calloused to the truth. Perhaps because all of our worship songs sing it, all our Christian bookstores sell it, all our believer friends say it, the truth can be lost in repetition.
But God really is amazing, and I cannot even begin to express my thoughts regarding the majesty He has shown in this past year. My analytical mind wants to halt these words long enough to work out some kind of cohesive, in-depth research essay on the glory of God, so I can pinpoint every single event and connect them with every single emotion, but I am not going to wait for such a complete summation. I am going to sporadically write my thoughts without planning, without editing, without correcting, erasing, retyping. I want my words to flow, and I want my flawed, disconnected words to somehow bring praise to the One who has given me everything I could hope for and eternity beside.
My words will never be enough...the best thoughts my ignorant, simple, scattered brain can conjure will always fail to comprehend the greatness of His love, glory, mercy, compassion, patience, faithfulness. But that doesn't mean I don't try...that doesn't mean I don't stammer and stutter and whisper and shout and cry and laugh at the ideas of Him, at the nature of His Spirit, the sacrifice and love of His Son.
- The love of God is greater far
- than tongue or pen can ever tell,
- It goes beyond the highest star
- and reaches to the lowest hell;
- The guilty pair,
- bowed down with care,
- God gave His Son to win
- His erring child He reconciled
- And pardoned from his sin.
- O love of God, how rich and pure!
- How measureless and strong!
- It shall forever more endure
- the saints and angels' song.
- Could we with ink the ocean fill
- And were the sky of parchment made,
- Were every stalk on earth a quill
- And every man a scribe by trade,
- To write the love of God above
- would drain the ocean dry
- Nor could the scroll contain the whole
- though stretched from sky to sky.
This year has been so difficult...This year has brought me to lows I never thought existed, into valleys of great shadow and fear...This year has caused me to doubt the very ideas of life, God, the future, happiness...
This year has been so amazing...This year has showed me the truth of God, the faithfulness of God, the love of God, the patience of God...This year has brought me into a time of great joy and great blessing...This year has consumed me with a complete reliance on my Father.
Through fire, our faith is purified.
Through fire, God shows His glory.
For every battle, a victory.
For every tear, a comfort.
God is a God of victory. And though sorrow lasts for a night, a year of nights, joy comes in the morning of His presence, and just as He is faithful to lead us into times of suffering and trial, He is faithful to lift our heads and look at the future awaiting us.
This is my simple, flawed, incomplete declaration of His unspeakable love and faithfulness, and I cannot wait for the day when my imperfections are transformed into perfections, and I am able to finally praise Him in His complete presence.
"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever Amen. "
"Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
"He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
"Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful."
"Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise."
"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed."
"For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith."