“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” II Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV)
Anniversaries are significant to me. Unfortunately, not all anniversaries are pleasant. The week before Christmas every year marks our miscarriage and then two days later the death of our beloved dog. Every family has their own anniversaries that they would rather forget but come along every year anyway.
I think one reason why those anniversaries are significant is because not only am I grieving the loss of a person (or beloved four-legged family member), but I’m grieving the loss of innocence. I remember that the nine months of pregnancy I experienced two years after our miscarriage, while a blessing, held a certain level of fear that hadn’t been present with our first two pregnancies. Bonding with our new puppy after burying Max days earlier held a tinge of sadness. I knew that the more I invested in his little life, the more my heart would break when I eventually have to say goodbye to him (hopefully not for a very long time).
At the end of 2014, I was looking forward to the beginning of a new year. December had been harder than usual and our pastor started the new year speaking about “embracing the adventure” God had planned but honestly, I was ready for a break. However, on January 5, 2015, our family was hit with a financial blow. My job was being eliminated due to advancement of technology. I was no longer needed. As per my history with anniversaries and the grief that God had revealed to me after Thanksgiving, I fully expected to feel sadness beginning 2016 – almost a “brace yourself for another hit” emotional tsunami.
Instead, God reminded me of this Truth: He knew all my days before I was even born. He already has my family’s 2016 planned out. I get the privilege of walking forward not into the unknown but into a life that God has already previewed. Not just previewed, but He pays attention to and cares about all the details. I may not have known in December 2014 what was waiting up ahead, but God did. Looking back over the past year, with hindsight, I can now see all the ways God lovingly provided and the ways I grew closer to my Father.
It’s now January 2016 and I work for a different company in a field that is more in line with my gifts and talents. I can see how God used the decade of working for the previous company to train me for what He had waiting for me to step into last year. It all worked together. It was all part of His plan for our life.
I don’t foresee any major shifts in my employment this year, but there could be. I don’t say that with fear, though. My innocence may be gone, replaced with the Truth of Who I work for – and He always provides. What I originally saw as a tragedy, I now see as a blessing. God used that eight months of repeatedly, patiently providing for our family over and above to help me understand Who my paycheck belongs to, Who I work for, and how to walk in faith that He will always provide.
My friend, I want to encourage you today. Before you were even born, God knew the exact number of days you would have here on earth. God not only sees the road ahead of us before we do, but He knows the ending as well. That brings me comfort, knowing that my Heavenly Father has it all under control as long as I allow Him to guide my steps, ask for His wisdom, and obey what He whispers in my spirit. I didn’t wake up one day trusting Him that deeply. It took lots of practice over many years to develop that kind of trust… but friend, having lived life both ways (trying to do it myself versus completely surrendering everything to Him), I can say with certainty that the journey is much more enjoyable when I let Him lead.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016