This year has been hard. It’s been full of setbacks, disappointments, and obstacles. People have lost jobs, businesses, and loved ones. At the very least, it’s been full of craziness and uncertainty. For many of us, it was full of challenges and struggles.
That’s why the words I came across in Philippians today are so meaningful; Paul wrote them while in prison. He didn’t know how his life would turn out. He didn’t know if he would be executed, yet he wrote about joy and strength.
In Chapter 2 he recounts the story of Christ. Verse 8 ends with the death of Jesus. In the world’s eyes, this was the end of the story. Evil had won. The religious leaders had gotten what they wanted. However, God had another plan.
Verse 9 begins with two amazing, impactful words, “Therefore God . . . ”. What seemed like the end was really just the beginning. God had a purpose in the death and suffering of Christ – to give him the name above every name and to raise him from the dead. Friends, this is hope for us today and hope for us in the upcoming year. When we feel like life is just hard for a really long time, and it doesn’t seem like things are getting any better, God always has a purpose. At some point in our story, he will write these words into our lives, “Therefore God.”
I don’t know what the new year holds. I pray it’s better than 2020, but what I do know is this – God has a purpose in all of it. God will redeem our pain and what we’ve been through and use it as part of our story to bring glory to himself and to further his kingdom. When things seem difficult, know that God will strengthen you. In Philippians 2:13, we are reminded that “it is God who works in you”, and the best reminder of all is in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Father, please strengthen us for whatever this new year holds. I pray it’s better and less chaotic than this year. Whatever comes, I pray you would help us persevere and rely on you and trust in your plan, no matter what. I pray that you would be glorified in our lives and work all things for good. In the name of your Son we pray, Amen.
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