A Year to Grow
2018 grew my faith. Through the highs and lows of the year, I have come to realize that God’s plans do not always pan out the way I picture, but his plans are always for me. The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9 (ESV) Traveling to the green pasture God has for us is sometimes a painful process. We must learn to smell the roses and notice the beauty of God’s blessings along life’s way. So much of life is spent on the road; following our Shepherd, trusting that he is taking us to a safe place, even in the midst of peril. 2018 was a year of spiritual growth, joy, and adventure. But in the mix of love and bliss, there were some extremely challenging trials along the way. Every time I began to think, “Praise the Lord. Finally I have made it to my green pasture!” Jesus would tap me on the shoulder, and say, “Come along daughter, we must press on.” Does he demand I follow? -No. But, what good is a green pasture without the presence of a shepherd? Without Jesus, we are free game for the wolves and the harsh elements of this world. I would be lost, and alone without my Jesus. The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want... Jesus protects and guides his sheep. Someday he will wipe away our every tear. But until we get to the holy place he is ultimately taking us to, we must faithfully follow our Shepherd, even through the shadows and the rain. One day we will experience the Light of Christ’s presence in full. Until that glorious day, we must endure the trails and trials of life, in pursuit of Christ. The green pastures of life are only temporary. Sometimes leaving a wonderful place, or phase of life is uncomfortable and may seem premature. We must trust that the Shepherd knows of dangers beyond the horizon that are hidden and unseen. We don’t understand the “why” behind life’s abrupt changes, but we do know that God has plans are to prosper and not to harm, plans to give us a hopeful future (Jeremiah 29:11). We serve a mighty God, who has big plans for those with a willing heart, who are willing to step out and chase after him in faith. Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” Matthew 4:30-32 (ESV) Grow. This year, 2019, grow in faith. Allow God to use you in whatever way. If your current life circumstances seem small, or mundane; trust that God is growing and strengthening your branches.