by Doug Stringer
In the past several weeks, a message has been burning in my heart for you: God has not forgotten you! He is standing over His Word, ready to bring it to pass in your life. Even when your present circumstances look bleak, God’s thoughts toward you are of good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
Near the end of 2011, many analysts started making predictions for the coming year. Most of the predictions had a doomsday feel to them, both on the national and international scale. “Experts” are predicting widespread economic turmoil, in Europe and across the globe. In the U.S., the recession lingers and unemployment numbers remain high. The political landscape is troubling, both at home and abroad.
It’s true—people are struggling. For many families, hope for the future seems hard to come by in these times. But I’d like to remind you, no matter how grim the world’s predictions are, there is one thing that remains true above all else.
God has not forgotten you
God has not forgotten you. He has a plan and a purpose for you that are greater than any of the temporary circumstances that may be plaguing you. His Word over your life is true and He will be faithful to complete it.
We must stand on the goodness and faithfulness of God and continue to declare His Word over our lives. In 2 Chronicles 6:17, Solomon prayed, “And now, O LORD God of Israel, let Your word come true, which You have spoken to Your servant David.” Solomon knew the word of God spoken over his father, David, and that word carried the promises for his own life. Now Solomon cried out to the Lord to let that word come true that he might see it come to pass.
We too, must pray earnestly for the purposes of God to come to pass in our lives. We are not to sit idly by, waiting to see what will happen all around us. No, God invites us to become partners with Him to see His word come to pass. Jesus commanded us to pray as He prayed, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” As we turn our focus to the Lord and to His kingdom, our prayers activate the purposes of God. Just as it says in James 5:16, “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Fixing our eyes on Jesus
In the midst of all the challenges we are facing, God’s faithfulness and His goodness are ever-present. But it is important that we not let our focus turn to our circumstances, which cause us to doubt God’s word for our lives. The righteous do not live by what they see and feel. They live by faith in the word of God!
When I think about the future and where I am heading, I often take time to reflect on the landmarks of my past. Even though I can’t change my past or erase some of the decisions I’ve made before, the decisions I make now, each day, give clarity and definition to my future. And by looking at what God has done in my life, I see His faithfulness. I see evidence that He has not forgotten me and that His word over my life remains steadfast. Even when I messed up, He was faithful. As 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”
God’s nature is unchanging. He is faithful to His word. God has not forgotten you or His promises for your life.
Take time to cast your cares on Jesus
One of my spiritual fathers, the late Dr. Edwin Louis Cole, taught that sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to pull away and rest. We have a prayer room set up at our offices and sometimes I find myself just needing to pull away from everything that is going on, all the needs and burdens that exist, and come into a place of rest and reflection, where I can focus on Jesus and on hearing His word.
Jesus modeled this lifestyle. Throughout His 3 ½ years of ministry on earth, the gospels tell us He often took time to get away by Himself and pray. The time spent with His Father gave Him the perspective, clarity, and resolve He needed to continue in the Father’s purposes.
No matter what you go through in this coming year, take time to spend with the Lord and meditate on His word for your life. Jesus invites you to come: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). It’s so important that we take time regularly to steal away from all the noise pollution around us, to give our burdens over to the One who cares for us, and to receive His perspective and clarity so we can continue in His purposes for our lives.
The conditions that exist around us in the natural may seem bleak. But even during these tough times, we can look to the future with expectation of God’s goodness. Yes, there will be great challenges, but we can have great expectations of a God who keeps His promises. He is a God who will keep His promises to you—for your life, for your spouse, for your children, for your family, for your finances, and for your future!
Like the Apostle Paul, I too “am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it (complete it) until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).