God repeated Himself over and over again last December.
He kept saying, “Kathy, I will put a new song in your mouth!”
That phrase is found several times in the Psalms – and everywhere I went, someone was quoting one of them. Or it was part of a sermon. A devotional minute on the radio. Or a song.
I kept hearing it, over and over again.
So I went into 2018 expecting great joy, great excitement, great newness, great something-or-other.
I assumed that is what God meant by “a new song”.
And what I bumped into for most of the year was not what I would call “great”. It turned out to be a year full of tough things in many ways.
My Dad had a stroke and then had to have emergency surgery.
A baby near and dear to my heart faced open heart surgery, shortly after battling pneumonia.
And a young friend, just 19 years old, was killed in a car accident.
That was just the “big” stuff.
Life was also full of the little things that are no fun. Those “little things” that add up to an enormous weight on the soul when they accumulate over time.
And prayers that seemed to be unanswered.
By the time August rolled around I was all done spiritually and emotionally.
And I told God, “That new song you gave me? It’s a song of suffering! Thanks a lot!”
But He is so good.
And so right in all His ways.
All of that suffering was the tilling of the ground of my heart.
It needed to be broken up, broken open, and broken through.
So that when He was ready, He could plant new seeds.
Seeds that have, indeed, sprouted into a new song.
He used a friend, a book and the Holy Spirit to do plant those seeds.
And quite literally in the middle of the night this past fall I woke up with a huge Holy-Spirit-floodlight shining on my soul.
Like a brightly lit billboard dropped into my brain, He spelled out the lies I had been believing since my college days.
Lies about myself.
And lies about Him.
And mostly, lies about who I am in Him.
Over the next few weeks He ripped out those weeds, those lies I had never even realized I was believing. At the same time, He cultivated those seeds, replacing old thought patterns with new ones, replacing lies with Truth.
And He showed me who I am in Him.
And what He thinks of me.
As those seeds have sprouted and grown, He has given me a new song.
Not a song of suffering.
But a song of joy.
A song of forgiveness.
And the freedom to shine. To sparkle with reflected glory.
Not my own glory – but the light of His smile, His goodness, His grace, and His unfailing love for me.
I knew all of those things in my head before.
I spouted them many times in many venues to many people.
But He used the suffering in the first part of the year to take me deeper into Him in the second.
To expose places in my heart and mind that I didn’t realize existed.
To expose the enemy in his schemes.
To reveal the lies.
To replace them with Truth.
And to set me free in new ways.
So I have asked God to tell me His theme for me 2019.
And His reply?
Just one word:
And that is the theme of my song, my new song.
I don’t know what that looks like.
I know what I would love for it to mean in so many different areas of my life.
But the reality of how all the details play out is up to Him.
Because if I learned anything in 2018 it is that He is “not a tame lion” as CS Lewis said.
I cannot make Him behave according to my will.
But when I surrender to His will, even in the midst of pain, He displays His true character:
That He is good.
And everything He does is right.
I cannot understand His ways.
But I can completely trust His heart.
And that is truly something to celebrate.
My challenge to you:
Ask God to show you His theme for you for the year.
Trust Him to lead you.
Surrender whatever He is asking you to surrender.
And watch in amazement as He does His thing.
It probably won’t match your ideas, plans or will.
But it will be the very best thing for you.
Because He is good, and everything He does is right.
Even if the new song is a song of suffering.
“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5b
I hated many moments of 2018.
But in the end, I am grateful for each of them.
And I gladly anticipate all He will do in 2019.
Happy New Year, my friends!
May it be a great one for you as you walk with God;
may He reveal Himself to you in deeper and stronger ways this year.
And at the end of 2019 may we be singing together a deeper, newer, truer song of Who He is.