Here we are again at the end of another year. Lord, first, can I just say that I love You so so much? You have revealed so much more of Yourself to me this year. Or maybe I was looking at You all this time and just didn’t know it, because I know my blindness lifts but slowly, Lord, and only by Your grace. Either way all I know is that every year You just look bigger and bigger. Maybe that’s just Your infinity, or maybe it’s the same effect as drawing nearer to a mountain. At first it’s just a pretty little toy thing on the horizon, but as you get closer and closer it suddenly begins to look more real and majestic and terrifying and dangerous and beautiful.
Drawing nearer to You has been painful sometimes, Sir, but I thank You for every last sting, for every last throb of that agony. I appreciate to many that seems kind of an odd thing to say. I know You know what I mean, but for the sake of them that listen in on this prayer, let me elaborate. See Lord, I see so many people have also had a hard, hard 2016. The Internet is full of relief at the end of this terrible year. We’ve all experienced a few tragedies and travails.
But Sir, that’s the amazing thing about You. Pain was never supposed to be part of the beautiful, perfect world You made, and then we broke it and brought pain in with our sins. Ultimately all pain is self-inflicted, I guess. And Satan jumps on pain so quickly to amplify it in us, trying to drown You out. But wow, Lord! How You have foiled that plan! You turned the ugly thing we brought into our world into a mighty weapon, a burning fiery sword to sever all that stands between us and You. Instead of waging war on pain, You made it into one of Your greatest strategies to bring us closer to You. All things indeed work together for our good – even ugly, nasty things we made when we broke the world.
It’s during tribulation that You often draw the troubled soul closer to You. It’s by removing all other options that You open our eyes to the thing we were searching for all along: Yourself. It’s during our most critical sickness that we finally in desperation turn to the most perfect Healer.
I know this because this past time has been among the hardest of my life, but I’ve also never experienced You as dynamically as during this time. Oh, Lord, there was pain. There was weeping. But there was also You, always. Your healing touch. Your loving arms. Your rock under my feet. The devil must be gnashing his teeth now because he launched such an attack on me and every new effort was just another inch of ground You gained, a contribution to Your victory in my heart. You never let me go, Lord. I stepped out on the waves and sank, and Your strong grasp was there to save me.
So Lord, I see and I understand why everyone is praying for an easier year next year. We’ve all got a few new scars; we’re all nursing fresh wounds, still trying to stop the bleeding. Our hearts cry out in protest against still more struggle. We want to have no more. We want to rest.
But our only rest is You, Sir. The fields are white for the harvest; You’re coming soon, Lord, and there isn’t time for slumber. We need to draw closer to You, now, today, this very minute because we have no guarantee that You’re not coming even tonight, even this next breath. The trouble isn’t that we don’t have forever. The trouble is that we do: we need to be sure where we’re gonna be spending it.
So Lord, I don’t pray for an easier year. No, Lord, I pray for even more challenges. I pray not for material blessings or for temporary joy or for worldly success. I pray that You would take us further up and further in this year. I pray that You would continue the good work You’ve begun in us. I pray You’d forge us into even sharper blades in a hotter fire; let us drink of the cup of Your blood even deeper; draw us up higher though the altitude may make it hard to breathe. I pray that You would shine brighter through us in deeper darkness. I pray that You would set us even better and bigger and harder deeds and make Your Name known because I will sing, Lord, I will sing until the whole world hears.
I pray not peace on earth, but a sword. A saving, redeeming sword that will cleave away every evil and deathly thing in us and leave us uninhibited to rise up and embrace You in miniature semblance of Your ultimate, perfect holiness and joy. I pray that we would be drained of ourselves so we may be filled of You. I pray that we may decrease, and You may increase.
I pray all this because these are the last days and there are so many souls that we can show the way to You. Only You can save a soul, Lord, but Your light in us can illuminate the path. Please Lord, let us be that. Let us become little Christs, at whatever cost to us, for You have already paid every cost to You.
I pray this, my Beloved, because I know You are with us and You are the only source of love and joy and life and holiness and completeness and every good thing. I love You and I want You and my soul pants for You: it just can’t get enough of You. I hear You call me deeper still. So Lord, no matter how painful it is, make me follow.
Thank You so much for Your amazing amazing amazing love and patience and steadfastness. There are not enough breaths in all the lifetimes of the world to breathe out enough songs to sing Your praise and give You thanks for a tenth of a tenth of what You are and what You have done.
I love You Sir.
In Jesus’s incredible Name,