In Trials on
31 December, 2012

Surrendering the pen for 2013

love-pen-bed-drinking

You can make plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” {Proverbs 19:21 NLT}

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 2012, it’s that joy can bloom in the midst of anguish. {Although, there really isn’t just one thing.}

If you would have asked me what my expectations were for 2012 during this time last year, I would have given you a long list of things that, well, just didn’t happen. But truth be told, if they had happened…I honestly believe they could have been my ruin. And I don’t think I would be the person I am now.

But God knew better than I, and He never let me go. He knew what I needed–to find my identity in Christ. He helped me find it by allowing my manmade plans to be destroyed in one fell swoop, in order that I could discover who I am in Him and learn that His ways are better than my own {Isaiah 55:8-9}. And He worked–and is still working–it all out for my good {Romans 8:28}.

And the same is true for you as a follower of Christ. You see, even when our worst nightmares come true, we can have hope that God has a purpose in allowing them to happen {Jeremiah 29:11}. And, while He may have a long list of purposes for allowing the hardships {some of which we may never fully know}, His ultimate purpose in our storms is that we will know Him better  and that our faith will grow stronger {James 1:2-4}. And, in addition, He desires that we will share with others the comfort we find in Him {2 Corinthians 1:3-5}.

So, even now, although you may be facing a trial and although your 2012 may not have gone the way you planned, if you put your trust in God, there is HOPE.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved byvarious trials, so that the tested genuineness of your 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 you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. {1 Peter 1:6-9 ESV}

Instead of making a new year’s resolution this year, I encourage you to surrender the pen of your life’s story to God. For me, this is something I have to do regularly. But let me tell you, it is worth it.

Once you let go, begin to dream and present your desires to God. Pray that you would dream for yourself the things He desires for you. Pray for stronger faith, pray for opportunities to share that faith, and thank Him for choosing you to be His son or daughter.

I know I quote Psalm 139 often, but that’s because my mother reminds me of it often. It’s a beautiful passage, and I encourage you to read it if you’re unsure whether you can really trust God with this new year.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
    O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
    your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
    I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

Jen

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6 Comments

  • joyleanne

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I poked around yours a bit and it looks like we have a LOT in common. (Journalism major who realized SENIOR year that being a reporter was NOT for me). Can’t wait to poke around more! 🙂

    3 January, 2013 at 10:35 pm Reply
    • Jennifer Hope

      That’s awesome! I loved discovering your blog! Thanks for coming and checking mine out, too 🙂

      5 January, 2013 at 4:22 pm Reply
  • Pastor Terry

    I enjoyed and was lifted up by your post! Thanks for sharing your experience & learning so eloquently!

    8 January, 2013 at 6:37 pm Reply
  • Darius

    “You see, even when our worst nightmares come true, we can have hope that God has a purpose in allowing them to happen {Jeremiah 29:11}”

    This is not typically what you read on the internet or in most religious circles these days, this is a very mature Christian attitude towards life and I appreciate you for sharing it. This is the first post I stumbled upon on your blog, but I do like what I read so far. May God continue to guide you to a closer walk with Him.

    8 January, 2013 at 8:18 pm Reply
    • Jennifer Hope

      Thank you for reading & taking the time to respond! I see many times that Jer 29:11 is quoted as a lighthearted “everything will be perfect and life will be happy” verse, but sometimes God brings us true joy by allowing us to walk through difficult seasons & it teaches us to trust in Him alone. 🙂

      8 January, 2013 at 8:28 pm Reply

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