By Beth Rees
I’ve met her countless times before, yet every year I meet her again.
As the dulcet tones of Auld Lang Syne carried the country into a new decade, I felt certain that this year would be a smooth ride. I was staying in the same job, had no great plans to change my circumstance and felt excited at the prospect of getting to know a new city I now called home. Little did I know how turbulent the next 365 days would be.
In the space of a few short months my life’s jigsaw puzzle slowly broke apart and I struggled to see the picture God was trying to create. My job was unexpectedly reduced to part time and with bills to pay, a 50% income cut was a pretty tough blow! In early March, my landlord wanted the house back and I had 20 days to find somewhere new to live. With the increasing pressure of that well-known virus threatening to stop all hopes of a normal life, I collapsed on my bed one evening feeling so distant from the happy person I’d once been and from God. I thought I had it all sorted, I’d been through a trust/identity crisis with A levels and university, when God taught me who He made me to be and where my true worth lies (spoiler, it’s not in achievements)!
Now it felt like it was all resurfacing. Once again, I had to trust God that He had this in His hands. On three separate occasions I was given the verse Jeremiah 29:11
‘For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future’.
In context, these words were given to a people in the throws of suffering after a false prophet had promised security. God doesn’t provide immediate escape, but through their suffering He shows them He has not abandoned them and can be relied upon.
In much the same way God has used this year to reveal to myself more of who He made, but also to grow and know Him more deeply than I could have imagined. All around me the earthly comforts that had always been there, seemingly disappeared overnight. Nothing was constant or guaranteed. The only secure place was Him. I clung to Him throughout the chaos of lockdown, grateful for such basic things when pasta became a delicacy!
I spent time with the people I love, started on projects God had been calling me to, my work hours were extended, was blessed with an incredible new house, healed my body and formed relationships with so many wonderful people.
I’m not saying that by trusting and clinging to Christ all my problems went away, rather that the more I knew Him, my perspectives shifted and my soul was satisfied. I really learnt who God was, we can run to Him for everything and trust His plans. This year could never have been lived in my own strength.
My happy spirit is back, knowing me it may be challenged again, but if I’ve learnt one thing through the last year, by knowing Him, it’s the best we can do.