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Looking Back, Seeing God

I am not very good at reflecting, or taking time to think back; rather, I often focus on the present and what is coming in the future. I make a point to buy a pretty notebook, begin journaling about whatever is happening in my life, and maybe jo

urnal about what scripture I read for the day, until one day I get too busy and do not do it. Again and again, I forget to fill out the journal, busy living life rather than recording it. However, reflecting on life and the circumstances you may find yourself in (whether by using a journal or not) is a helpful habit because it allows us to see God’s faithfulness and the way He has moved.

God is sovereign, just as Isaiah 55:8-9 reads, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

His ways are higher than ours, so there are many times when we do not, and cannot, see how God is at work in our lives. However, this should not discourage us from looking for God in the hidden places, looking for Him in both the messy and the simple parts of life because as Christians, we know that God is present in it all.

Psalm 139:5,7 proclaims, “You hem me in, behind and before. . . . Where shall I go from your spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?”

The New Testament demonstrates a continual theme of looking back at the Old Testament to reference God’s promises, which come to fruition through Christ Jesus. For instance, God declares to Satan in Genesis 3:15 that, "[He] will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Upon reflection, we know that this foretells Jesus' death and resurrection, in which he will defeat Satan and death; Revelations 1: 17-18 records Christ proclaiming, “I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” We should read scripture and observe the promise the Lord makes, the promise that He will come again and deliver those who trust in His name.

It is clear God has been at work in the places I once saw as too confusing or too broken, and in situations in which I fooled myself into thinking that I could succeed by myself. Just as we can read scripture and see that God is at work throughout history, so is He personally at work in our lives. Scripture reveals that sometimes God has to break us in order to build us into His image, that suffering leads to hope, and ultimately that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8: 28).

Just as God clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the air (Matthew 6: 26-29), just as the Lord has numbered the stars in the sky (Psalm 147: 4), so also does He provide for, sustain, guide, and know me and you. Looking back, there have been so many times in my life where I did not know what the future would bring, and even now I must lean on God’s Will for my life; there have been times where I have stumbled and wandered, but God has called me back. Looking back, I see God. I see His goodness, His faithfulness, and His provision.

Dear reader, rest in the fact that our Heavenly Father knows you by name and that nothing is hidden from Him. I pray you bring your burdens to the Lord and recognize the work He is accomplishing in you, even if you cannot yet see it. The time will come when He will reveal His plans, but for now, we have assurance because God has proven to be faithful, merciful, and gracious with us, bringing His promises to completion.

Though Jeremiah 29: 11 is often overused, I pray you recognize the blessing found in this verse, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Questions for further thought:

1) How are you hiding from God?

2) What can you do to take time and reflect on His faithfulness?

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