I can’t say I’m sorry to see 2005 end. It was a long year for me. I believe my word for 2005 (discovered in hindsight) was "Endurance" and my verse of the year was:
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going." (NLT)
I think it was Woody Allen who said something like, "Half of life is just showing up." Well, I’m showing up. I’m not crushed, broken, or abandoned by God. I’m not giving up and quitting. I’ll get up again and keep going.
On one of my regular blog reads, Rhythms of Grace, Mary has talked about the single word she gets from the Lord each year (last year, hers was Hope, I think). In all my years as a Christian, I have never asked the Lord in advance for a word for the year, but I sure have often noticed after the fact what lessons the Lord has taught me. Personally, I’m glad I didn’t know that last year was going to be about Endurance.
Anyway, I can’t say I was even asking the Lord for a word for 2006 when He gave it to me: Victory. Being who I am, I started questioning it. Was that really from the Lord or was I just wanting that to be the word after the year I’ve gone through. Besides, the hardest trial is not yet over nor is the end in sight. More endurance will be required. I know that. Doesn’t victory come when the war ends?
Last night, I went to my codependency group at Celebrate Recovery, and — surprise! — the topic of words for the coming year came up. The wife of one of our pastors is in my group, and she said the Lord has done this for her for the past ten years (like me, her word for 2005 was Endurance; her word for 2006 is Power). While she was talking, I heard that whisper in my heart: Victory. Okay, still sounds good, but I’m sure God wants to teach me about Trust and Faith and Perseverance and … Am I positive this is my word?
So this morning, I get up and I pray for God to show me exactly what my word is supposed to be. Within ten minutes, maybe less, I open an email from a friend that begins: "I’m praying 2006 as a year of VICTORY for you, dear sister." That’s how she wrote it, with the word in caps, and I hadn’t mentioned anything about this word thing to her previously. She also forwarded Tozer’s devotional for today (a conclusion to a month-long series on Trials and Pain) which I hadn’t read yet. It reads:
Trials and Pain: Prepared for Whatever
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. — Psalm 90:1-2
Yet I do not advise that we end the year on a somber note. The march, not the dirge, has ever been the music of Christianity. If we are good students in the school of life, there is much that the years have to teach us. But the Christian is more than a student, more than a philosopher. He is a believer, and the object of his faith makes the difference, the mighty difference.
Of all persons the Christian should be best prepared for whatever the New Year brings. He has dealt with life at its source. In Christ he has disposed of a thousand enemies that other men must face alone and unprepared. He can face his tomorrow cheerful and unafraid because yesterday he turned his feet into the ways of peace and today he lives in God. The man who has made God his dwelling place will always have a safe habitation. (The Warfare of the Spirit, p. 148)
Okay, Lord, I hear You. I asked for confirmation and You gave it in several ways. I accept that 2006 will be the year for me to learn about Victory. Your Victory. I learned some while writing The Victory Club in 2004. I know that *You* are the victory, and I belong to You. But I know You have more to teach me. I’m willing. Amen.
Farewell, 2005, the year of endurance. Welcome, 2006, the year of victory.
In the grip of His grace,