I find myself looking back and looking ahead.
Reflecting on this year, I consider the good and the painfully not-so-good events. I began the year by finally publishing a book after eighteen years of longsuffering and diligence. Joy abounds as I ponder how God’s faithfulness brought it to fruition.
However, even with the success, I’ve had emotional setbacks with health issues. In addition to my existing chronic illnesses, I’ve received a new and rare auto-inflammatory diagnosis. In turn, I’m grieving my losses. I’m living in the tension of joy and heartache.
The children of Israel also experienced a long history of good and evil. In God’s covenant promise, He told Abraham his family would grow from one to the incalculable number of stars in heaven (Genesis 15:5). Indeed, a recognizable blessing.
In contrast to the blessing, God foretold of 430 years of mistreatment in slavery. But He also promised to deliver His people (Genesis 15:13–14). Over many years, the Israelites endured savage enslavement to a ruler who cared little for their comforts or dreams for the future. But God did. He heard their cries and delivered them.
What can we learn about God to strengthen our hope for the days ahead?
God’s Timing Is Perfect
At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt.
~Exodus 12:41 NIV
I wonder why God made them wait so long. Yet, I marvel over the exact timing He used to rescue them. If He could make His peoples’ sufferings end on a designated day, He can do the same for us. We can grow in confidence with God in all that He allows. At times, our hardships feel as if they will never end. Yet, we persevere, knowing God’s precise timing makes us trust Him and increases our hope for upcoming and unknown events in the year ahead.
Knowing the first truth, we place our hope in the following truth.
God’s Power Delivers Us
God is a faithful deliverer when we trust Him.
The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen––the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.
~Exodus 14:28 NIV
God wanted to show His divine power so that the people would trust Him (Exodus 14:31). Consider the shrill victory cry the Israelites uttered as the sea waves clashed together, swallowing hundreds of horseback riders and chariots in the unforgiving depths (Exodus 15:1–18).
Next year, God will grant us unexpected blessings, but He will also likely put us to the test with challenging, unforeseen experiences. Like the Israelites, we may question if He cares (Exodus 14:11).
Yes, God hears our cries and knows our anxious thoughts. His faithful deliverance of His people strengthens our trust muscles to put our hope in God. In addition, we put our hope in His Son. Jesus modeled God’s timing and deliverance.
Galatians 4:4 tells us that when time had peaked at the right moment, God sent His Son to be born of a woman. And in Matthew, “He came to save his people from their sins” (1:21b).
Now that’s good news. But that’s not all. Jesus is coming again. No one knows the time, but we ground our thoughts in His word, confident that the last enemy abolished is death (I Corinthians 15:26).
Let’s stand firm in daily faith and expect God’s protection over our afflictions and deliverance, even in death.
How does God’s timing and deliverance bring hope to your heart for a New Year?
Lord, I thank You for Your abundant supply in helping my needs this last year, even in the difficult circumstances that grew my faith. Help me see Your faithful hand and willingness to deliver me from all my enemies in the coming year. Because You go before me, I put my hope in You. Amen.