A few days before Christmas, my daughter’s journey toward college acceptance reminded me that we can never overestimate God’s love for us. She had applied ‘early decision’ to American University in Washington, DC and waited, with not a small bit of trepidation, for a response they promised to deliver before December 30th. Because she applied ‘early decision’ her acceptance, including a financial aid package, would be binding. Each day she waited her concerns increased and her confidence decreased. Finally, the letter arrived from the office of enrollment. Her fears evaporated and her heart soared. She has been accepted into the AU class of 2020 with a more-than-expected aid package, making her dream a reality.
God answered Rebekah’s, and her parents’, prayers in abundance. This chain of events made me ask two questions. First, do I expect too little from God? I may be guilty of not asking God for all that I need and therefore not enabling Him to grant all that He desires for me. Secondly, do I expect too much of myself? I may also be guilty of relying upon my own abilities and resources to accomplish what only God can do. The unfortunate byproduct of these practices is that I tend to spend too much time in worry and too little time in prayer.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10 (NIV)
As the new year begins, my wish for 2016– not so much a resolution as an intention – is that I seek God’s promises and surrender my own plans. I intend to pray more and fret less. I intend to ‘test God’ by giving to Him the obedience He deserves and receiving from Him more than I could ask or imagine. I intend to expect more from God and less from myself. And I intend to trust God completely, making my needs and desires known to Him in prayer and allowing Him to determine the answers. I intend to remember that God cares about me, gave His greatest for me and will make all things work for the good of those who love Him.
Can you imagine what would happen if we all gave God the next 366 days? What could be accomplished if we were to seek His guidance and follow leading – working hard in the places He’s called and commissioned us to serve, resting fully during the times He’s appointed for us to find restoration and giving generously to those He’s placing in our lives? I see no better way to live out the next cycle around the sun than to pray for God’s greatest blessings and to anticipate that He will answer these intercessions in the best manner possible.
What about you? What are your intentions for the new year?