As 2012 draws to a close, there is one thing that stands out in my mind above everything else: my salvation. This past March, God graciously opened my eyes to see my need for a Savior. I saw my sinfulness and where it would lead, and I finally got off the throne of my life and gave that position to God. (I use the active voice very loosely here. I am fully aware that if it had not been for the revelatory work of the Holy Spirit, I would not have been able to make such a decision.) After knowing about God for a long time, I have finally come to know Him. I have at last put my faith in the Bible. As God graciously empowers me, I will live by what it says as I eagerly anticipate the day when I will be united with Him.
If the rest of my year had gone horribly awry, I would still give thanks for God’s gift of salvation. A moment of reflection reveals a few reasons I why I am overwhelmed by it: first and foremost, it means God loves me. He sent His Son to die for me, to bear the punishment I deserve for my sins, so that I could be reconciled to Him. How can I not be moved by that? The God of the universe loves me! He proved it by crucifying His Son. One of the sentences that has stood out most to me in the past few weeks is: “if nothing good ever happened again, / the Cross was proof enough of God’s goodness and love” (from a beautiful poem via Challies). And it doesn’t end there. Salvation is multifaceted. I am also free from hell. I am free from the dominion of sin. The reasons for my joy continue and abound.
But my year has not gone horribly awry. Things have gone unexpectedly, to be sure. There has been sacrifice and pain, sometimes even for the sake of my faith. But I have been witness to the grace of God throughout all that. Externally, I have been blessed with friends who love me and whom I love more than words can describe. Because God sanctifies me and frees me from my sin, I have a better relationship with my parents than I did before. The internals are even more important: I have a deep, indescribable joy in knowing that God loves me and cares for me. That joy causes me to spend time in prayer, communing with Him. That joy causes me to search His Word to learn from Him and to be more like Him. When things go unexpectedly, I have hope because God has assured me through His Word that things are working for my good (Romans 8:28). I can depend on Him because He is sovereign and in control and He loves me.
No, not every day is full of joy. There are some days when, in the words of John Piper, I am “so depressed and discouraged that between the garage and the house [I] just want to sit down on the grass and cry. Every day with Jesus is not sweeter than the day before” (Desiring God 143). But God, in His love and grace, provides me hope on the basis of His Son’s death and resurrection. He leads me to the Scriptures, where my joy is restored. Despite my changing circumstances and despite the passing of the years, God is faithful. He loves me. He will be my joy. Because of that, I can raise my voice and sing:
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.
I can say with confidence and joy that it has been a good year, because God loves me. I can say with the same confidence and joy that next year will be a good year because God loves me. He is gracious and faithful and unchanging, and there is no greater good in my life that I could ask for. Next year will bring challenges, I am sure. But tomorrow I will wake up with the assurance of salvation and the love of a gracious God. So let tomorrow come, for I have Christ! To Him be all the glory and honor!