Perhaps you’ve heard of the trend: ask God to show you a word for the coming year. Though there’s no biblical mandate to do such a thing, it isn’t a bad idea to ask God to focus our hearts and minds on a principle in his word.
Last year, I prayed and sensed my word was fruitfulness.
Though people often share their words at the outset of the year, I’ve seen few actually reflect on the previous year’s word, but that seems like a worthwhile pursuit.
Toward the end of 2016, I would’ve chosen the word disappointment to sum up the year. I had to comb through my journal to even remember my original word. Minor setbacks and losses had piled on and left me discouraged. When I contemplated my year, I wondered if I’d misunderstood God.
I could point to two published novels, a novella, some short stories—and even areas of personal growth that indicated fruitfulness. But what about my disappointments?
Yet there was one thing about fruitfulness I’d forgotten—pruning. Consider John 15:1-2: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
Maybe the disappointments are a part of God’s pruning process, so my fruitfulness will increase in the future.
During 2017, God wants me to focus on hope. I pray certain aspects of my life will change, but if they don’t, my hope is not impacted. This year might have more disappointments than 2016. It might be better. Either way, my hope is in the Lord.
In conclusion, I’d like to share two verses that remind us where we can find our true hope—no matter what happens.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.