“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways.”
Isaiah 64:4-5, NIV
The first day of a New Year is a wonderful opportunity to look back across the years and give thanks – not just for the incidental things that have been a blessing in the year that has just ended, but above all to thank God for who He is, His character, His trustworthiness, His mercy and His great love. For, as Isaiah says in our Scripture for today, there is no other God who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.
If you are waiting for God to intervene in your life and answer long-prayed prayers, it can be very tempting to think that all we have to do is wait for it to happen – for isn’t that what the Scripture says? But as with so many of the promises of Scripture there is a condition attached – God promises to act on behalf of those who not only wait for Him, but who also gladly choose to do what is right. It could be, therefore, that God is waiting for us to put some things right in our own life before He is able to answer the deepest cries of our own heart as we wait on Him.
For example, in my little book “Forgiveness, God’s Master Key” I tell many stories of how God transformed people’s lives when they chose to forgive those who had hurt them. They had been waiting for God to act, but nothing had happened. The forgiveness principle is right at the centre of the prayer Jesus taught His disciples where He said, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” And Jesus went on to say that if we don’t forgive those who have hurt us, then God is unable to forgive us (Matthew 6:15). These are strong words. But oh what joy and blessing can flow when we gladly choose to do what is right, as Jesus taught us to do.
Maybe the Lord has been speaking to you about other things in your life – things which have become an obstacle to your Christian growth. Could it be that He is waiting for you to respond to His gentle leading and face up to them, before He can answer the deeper prayers of your heart?
I have always found that the turn of the year is a very special time in my own spiritual journey through life. John Wesley encouraged all is followers to use this time of the year to renew their covenant with the Lord and take time to pray through each area of their lives, as they equip their hearts for the challenges of the year ahead.
So, on this first day of a New Year, may I encourage you to do just that, to spend time with the Lord not just in asking Him to answer your prayers, but in both thanking God for the help He has been in all the years that have gone before, and also reviewing each area of your life as you renew your commitment to Him for the year ahead. He is not only the God who has helped us in ages past, but He is also our hope for the years to come.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for all the ways in which You have been my help in all the years of my life. Thank you for answered prayer, Your provision and care. But help me, also, Lord, to see my life as You see it and on this first day of the New Year to come before You once again in thanksgiving, repentance and commitment as together we look forward to all that You have planned for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.