I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but as each new year begins, I find myself looking for a personal “word” to carry me in and through the coming new year—a word that will steady me and keep me on course when an unexpected wind blows hard upon my soul and rattles me down way deep in my bones.
Who’s with me on this? And what’s your good word?
Yeah, I’m kind of bettin’ you’re a lot like me. At the end of the year, with a thankful heart we reflect on the good, and then we blissfully mutter, “Good Riddance!” to all the bad and the awful ugly.
But, if we’re listening, in that quiet moment of grieving great losses while daring to hope for better days, we can sometimes hear the whisper of the Spirit. A word— one word—begins to form in your mind and it’s as though God is saying, “Pay attention, this is your “word.” This is what I want you to focus on this year.”
Well…it’s the middle of January and all my friends have been posting their word for the year—beautiful, inspiring, encouraging words. But until today, I’ve not had a word for the year. Nothing has resonated as being “my word”! Zero, Zip, Zilch, Nada!
But I did have something—it just wasn’t a single “word.”
In the last few days of December, I began reading The Possibility of Prayer by John Starke. In the book Starke shared about a time when he was encouraged by a mentor to“read the Bible and then meditate on the Scriptures as if they were God’s words to [him] at that exact moment.”
Though it’s long been a habit of mine to read the Word of God on a regular basis, this practice of reading the Bible, then meditating on the Scriptures as if they were God’s personal word to me at that exact moment hit me like a lightening bolt.
Of course, there have been times in my life when I have heard God speak. But this idea of hearing from God every time I opened my bible as if it were His personal word to me at that exact moment was beyond thrilling!
Obviously, we need to read the Word in context, but can you even imagine what our lives might look like, if every time we opened the Word, we expected Him to personally speak to us?
And then it happened. While reading Philippians 1:6 (CSB), “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” I strongly sensed the Holy Spirit whisper, “Hold on to that good word, it is My promise to you. I will finish what I started in you. I need you to believe Me and take me at My word. This is your Scripture for 2020.”
See, a couple of years ago, I was awakened in the middle of the night with a vivid dream (I’m not typically a dreamer.) But that night, I was awakened out of a deep sleep and called to a specific endeavor. It seemed as if God was saying to me, “This is what I have placed in your hands and this is the work I have prepared you to do. Now go do it.”
I have diligently worked to honor that midnight calling, but I have yet to see the fruit of my labor. I’d be lying if I said I’ve not lost sleep over this, I’ve not shed buckets of tears, I’ve not fretted or worried. No, I’ve been greatly discouraged.
Maybe that’s you too. Has God whispered something to your heart and you’ve yet to see the promised fulfilled? If that’s you, while you wait, hold on to the promise of Philippians 1:6
So yeah, I had a scripture for the year, but I still did not have my word for the year… until this morning. Woohoo, I got my word!
While I was reading and meditating on 2 Chronicles 16:8-9 (ESV), “Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, he gave them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him…” I heard His personal word to me.
“You don’t need large numbers to succeed in business. You don’t need a huge fan base to grow your business. You need me. I am not limited by your lack of numbers, your lack of followers, or your lack of anything. Don’t trust your numbers more than you trust in Me. I can take your tiny mustard-seed-size faith and grow it into more than you can imagine.”
Remember when God called Gideon? God took Gideon’s army and whittled it down next to nothing! Why? Because it is too easy for us take pride in the strength of our numbers. Moreover, God receives the glory when He multiplies our little numbers, our little offerings, our little plans, our little whatever’s.
It’s important to note that the word “blameless” in the verse above does not mean “perfect” but rather one whose heart yearns for the things of God; one whose heart is DESPERATE for God. And that’s when I got my word for the year—DESPERATE.
O, that I might be a woman whose heart is more desperate for God than anything else. That’s my word. Now what’s your word? What’s your one word that will sustain you when an unexpected hard wind blows upon your soul? Drop your word in the comments below. Let’s celebrate together what God is speaking to our hearts.
 John Starke, The Possibility of Prayer, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press), 46