Endings can be hard. Beginnings can be harder.
We enter a new year often with fresh aspirations and new dreams. We plan. We make resolutions. We make promises to ourselves. Less dessert. More exercise. Better attitude.
Sometimes we succeed. Sometimes we falter with the follow-through, and at other moments we just give up. Why do we stop short when we could succeed if we pressed ahead? The answer is simple: we don’t want it badly enough to continue. Someone once said that we only seek something different when the pain of remaining the same exceeds the pain of change.
God will sometimes lead us into a season change by the pain of a burden. He will give a desire to see His will accomplished and will fan the embers of that passion toward His mission.
Take Nehemiah for example. The walls of Jerusalem had been torn down over 140 years earlier at the time of the events recording in the beginning of the book of Nehemiah. He was serving as the cupbearer to the king and, when he asked someone about how things were in Jerusalem, he heard that the walls were still torn down. This was not exactly what one might call breaking news as they had been that way for some time. But the point is not how long the walls had been down, but how passionately Nehemiah responded: “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven” (1:4).
It may have been old news, but it was a fresh burden.
So too, at this dawning of a new year, perhaps you need some divine sparks dropped into what seems like a cold hope. Maybe you have broken-down walls around you for which God wants to give you a burden for His change. And maybe you are facing old news, but a fresh burden from God will make you see things in a new light.
Nehemiah does return to Jerusalem, and he and the people rebuild the wall. Though they worked hard, faced opposition and pushed through difficulties, ultimately it was a divine mission favored by the Lord. In chapter 6 of the account, we find evidence of God’s hand at work in the rebuilding efforts: “So the wall was finished of the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly into their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God” (6:15-16).
A God-sized mission is only accomplished by God-given power.
As we begin this year, would you ask God to give you a fresh burden for what He wants to do in your life? Would you ask Him to break your heart for what breaks His? Would you ask Him to help you to see others as He sees them? Would you ask that He would give you a mission that you can only accomplish with His power so He is the only one who receives the glory?
Seek to fulfill His mission no matter the cost, because it is worth anything to make Him known.