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He made a way…

The preacher asked the question Sunday.

Are you closer to God today than you were on the first Sunday of January last year?

I wanted to shout yes, nod my head or something…but am I? Am I closer to God? Do I pray more today than last year? Have I studied more? Am I sinning less? How exactly do you answer this question and why do I NOT have an answer?

We are four days into the new year and the question keeps haunting me or maybe it’s my lack of answer to the question. I can’t seem to put my finger on an event or time in 2016 where I had some experience that changed me. Because let me tell you…2016 was an entire year of change.

Every corner I turned brought something new…changed the way I lived…moved me to a new place. Some say a year goes by fast but not really. The happenings in the span of 365 days can leave a person feeling dizzy and disoriented…like a child spinning blindfolded and released to pin the tail on a donkey. And there are parts I’m still not laughing about because the hurt involved has not completely gone away.

Change is a funny thing. Even when the change is good there’s a bit of grief. A time of sorrow over life not being the same. The question still haunts as I read the words of Isaiah.

But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18507A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> you, Jacob,

    he who formed<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18507B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> you, Israel:<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18507C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18507D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> you;
    I have summoned you by name;<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18507E" data-link="(E)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> you are mine.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18507F" data-link="(F)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
 When you pass through the waters,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18508G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
    I will be with you;<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18508H" data-link="(H)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18508I" data-link="(I)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18508J" data-link="(J)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
 For I am the Lord your God,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18509K" data-link="(K)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
    the Holy One<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18509L" data-link="(L)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> of Israel, your Savior;

This is what the Lord says—

    he who made a way through the sea,

    a path through the mighty waters,

17 

who drew out<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18523BD" data-link="(BD)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> the chariots and horses,

    the army and reinforcements together,

and they lay<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-18523BG" data-link="(BG)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> there, never to rise again,

    extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:

18 

“Forget the former things;

    do not dwell on the past.

19 

See, I am doing a new thing!

    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. –Isaiah 43

There are years you look back and realize every moment was a holding on to the One who never changes. The troubled waters, the creeping flames which left you feeling scorched remind you of who He is and to whom you belong. 

I read the words and hear Him whisper, forget the former things and let go. Let go of the grief over change, the things that might have been. Look ahead…look and see…
It will take time…to see how the Year of Change (2016) changed me. And some years are for holding on. Some years you white knuckle hold on to God because that’s all you can do…and it’s enough. It’s enough to move you closer to God in a way you’ve never been before.

The answer to the preacher’s question begins to clear like the lifting of fog. The Year of Change pushed me closer to God than ever before not because I sinned less or prayed more. But because on this day in 2017 I can see.

I can see because of Him I never quit. Never quit standing…believing…loving…


Sometimes holding on…refusing to quit…is enough. Enough to say yes to the preacher’s question haunting your thoughts. Yes! I’m closer to God. Yes! I still have issues and trials and dry spells. Yes! He made a way through it all.

He. Made. A. Way.

 And I know it is well
it is well
that’s the story I’ll tell…

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