Looking Back…

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I find myself looking back at this time of year to past life events because with each New Year there is the unknown.  I don’t know about you, but the unknown is sometimes frightening to me.  I am someone who likes to be on top of everything, so the unknown is a place that I am not comfortable in.  But this year, my looking back drew my focus to my 1st wedding anniversary.  It’s kind of funny.  Why not my wedding day?  That’s a logical question. But my focus is a year later.

Nancy and I just completed a year of being together as husband and wife.  Did our first year of marriage turn out to be exactly how we thought it would be?  No, it didn’t.  It turned out so much better.  We learned to loved each other more.  We trusted each other more.  We laughed more.  Yes, we laughed more.  Every day we would witness something that the other would do and it would crack us up.  We still crack each other up.  We became so close that even to this day, 15 years later, we have not wavered in that closeness.

Why do you suppose that first year was so foundational to our marriage?  I came from a very troubled past. I struggled with so many things. I never thought in a million years that I would be happy again.  The reason this particular year was so foundational is found in God’s Word.  Matthew 1:21-23 (NIV) says, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). God is with us.  It might sound too simple to some folks, but looking back that’s all that it is.  You see, since the beginning of time, God is with us.  John 1:1 (NIV) says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Now, the story goes a little deeper in proving God’s presence in our lives.  Nancy and I met as a result of me attending our church.  We grew in friendship and eventually in love because of our time together in Christ.  We both love the Lord and became increasingly aware that God had brought us together.  We nurtured our relationship to the point where I asked Nancy to marry me.  And she said, Yes!  I believe God was present when I proposed.

God was also in my past.  God was in Nancy’s past.  God was putting together our story.  He was with us.  We both can see God’s hand in our lives that eventually brought us together.  Nancy prayed for a very long time for God to send her the man of His choosing.  She prayed intently and specifically as she waited.  I, on the other hand, led a very shady life filled with self-gratification and self-preservation.  Then one day, I met a man named Jesus and surrendered my life to Him.  Nancy had given her life to the Lord at a very young age.  It took me longer to come to the point where I submitted my life.  So all along the way, we saw God’s hand on our lives.  God was guiding our lives from different directions.

We rejoice today because God’s hand is on our lives, was on our lives, and will continue to be on our lives.  Will we have trouble?  Will we have struggles?  Will our faith be tested?  Yes. Yes. And yes. We also know that no matter what we face, God will be with us.  Jesus doesn’t change.  The Bible says in Hebrews 13:8 (NIV) that: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  We are so thankful for that.  We are certain that God is working His divine plan and purpose through us.

Friend, what do you think your new year will be like?  Does the uncertainty of the future frighten you?  My prayer for you is that you will walk confidently forward in 2018 knowing that God will be with you.

His Name is Emmanuel, God with us!  He was, He is, and He is to comeThe Bible says in Hebrews 13:5 (NIV): God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 

Happy New Year, friend.  May the Lord continue to bless you.  Have a great week and a blessed year in the Lord!

George Leonhardt

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