As 2016 was coming to a close, I was thinking about what I could say, or give to you as we begin a new year. I was asking the Lord what He would want to say to us, to you and to me. Then just a few mornings ago as I was waking up, I had an impression in my spirit of the Lord saying, “I’m listening.” I believe He wants me to share this simple, but powerful message and remind us that our prayers, our cries, our thanks and our praise are not in vain. He is listening to us and He hears us.
Jeremiah 29:12 says, “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you…” This is a wonderful promise from our Father God. Earlier, in the same chapter, God sent a message to the people of Israel who had been carried away captive to Babylon. In verses 5-7, God said, “Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what you grow in them. Marry and have children. Then let your children get married, so that they also may have children. You must increase in numbers and not decrease. Work for the good of the cities where I have made you go as prisoners. Pray to me on their behalf, because if they are prosperous, you will be prosperous too.“ (GNT) God’s people had been taken captive and things were probably not turning out the way they thought they would. Yet, the Lord told them to increase, to work, and to pray. In other words, He told them to continue to live, even in captivity, even in the midst of their hardships.
We go through wonderful things and we go through such difficult things. When we cry out to the Lord, He wants us to remember that He is listening and working on our behalf. He wants us to live, to really live, even in times of captivity which can look like depression or sadness, confusion, and the most difficult situations that leave us so unsure. I believe God wants us to trust Him, to set our minds on Him, and truly believe that He is good. I believe He wants us to find revelation in His word and to pray it, believing that it will come to pass, even when things don’t look good on the outside. He wants us to continue to live with His peace, especially when the circumstances around us make us feel like captives of a future that we didn’t imagine.
We can have a peace that doesn’t make any sense and we can continue to really live in the midst of difficult circumstances. Matthew 5:6 tells us, “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!” It is my hope and prayer for you and me to set our hearts and minds on Christ Jesus and make His desire our priority this year. May 2017 be a year where our happiness comes not from our circumstances, but from knowing that our Father in heaven listens, hears us and extends a peace that allows us to live to the fullest!