I am beginning to appreciate the Old Testament more these days, because of all the hidden gems buried within what can sometimes be, for lack of a better term, boring recitations. I had just finished reading about the Jews rebuilding of the walls in Jerusalem under Nehemiah’s leadership (which really wasn’t boring because they had a lot of people who wanted to kill them, so they had to lay brick with one hand and hold onto a weapon with the other). Try doing that! That was tough sledding. Anyway, they persevered and completed the wall and then came together to celebrate and thank God for His protection during this tough time.
However, they didn’t just look at the 52 days of hardship they encountered while rebuilding the walls. They went all the way back to creation—then through the exodus. They admitted the sins and rebelliousness of their ancestors which had led to their captivity—and then God’s subsequent great mercy by saving this “remnant.” (That’s the Reader’s Digest version.)
But I like that strategy. So often at the end of the year, I just look back at that year. But some years it’s a bit tougher to see (or admit) God’s faithfulness. Some years He feels a bit (or a lot) more distant. This year I followed the lead of that faithful remnant of Jews. I took pencil and paper and went back to the beginning. I reminded myself, first and foremost, that He is the God of creation and that He created me. That He brought me to a certain family in a certain land. I remembered some of God’s faithfulness, His protection, His guidance, and His goodness throughout my life. I also remembered those times of rebellion and His subsequent grace and mercy.
I didn’t write everything He has ever done because I couldn’t remember everything, but I did write down those that He brought to mind this year. Then as the year progresses, I am sure He will bring other things to mind, and I will add those to my story. Then next December 31, I will read it again, and be reminded of His faithfulness and mercy. Not a bad way to end a year. Not a bad way at all.