For this week before Christmas we have an uplifting message from Shari Hervold. May hearts be blessed and strengthened as we focus on Jesus.
FOCUS, Before Making Decisions in the New Year
I don't have to tell a widow reading this today that the loss of your spouse threw your whole life out of focus. Initially, you most likely walked around in a daze, in shock and grief. There was so much paper work to do, agencies to contact, decisions to be made, with no partner to aid in those decisions. Some of you had help and support from children or other close family members and many decisions were made prior to death. Still, you found yourself alone in your grief and maintaining a clear focus was most difficult for you. You may still find it difficult to do so today, many weeks, months, or even years later.
While focusing or giving full attention to the ordinary decisions in life is important, it is even more important that you learn to turn your focus toward God before stepping out into the newness of life that God has prepared for you. Recall with me the story of Esther from the Bible. The Jews were set to be annihilated and Esther, as queen, was in a position to intercede to the king on their behalf. However, before even going to the king, she asked others to pray for and with her. Her entire focus was on God and seeing his guidance and protection. She was wise enough to recognize that she must focus first on God before stepping out into what she had been called to do to save her people. Her beauty, her position as queen, all her charm and ability to use speech and actions to sway the king would have little effect in a crisis of this magnitude. Esther is one of the many in the Bible who, before stepping out into the "unknown" first turned their focus on God and his leading.
As a widow, your life has been totally altered; it will never be the same. You will be getting advice from many sources; most, if not all, well-intentioned. I encourage you to listen well, and weigh that advice...but don't make a move until you turn your focus away from it and to God. Why? It is only God who has the whole picture of your life. It is only he who can truly lead you into the path that is best for you. When you turn your focus toward God, make sure that your attitude is one of trust in him and a willingness to obey his leading. You can be totally secure that he has your best interest at heart. Keep in mind the words of Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
Do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
And he will show you which path to take.
As you pray, you might want to make a list as options come to your mind. Do so with God's pleasure in mind, not just what appeals to you. Look over your list to see if anything on it clearly violates any principles found in God's Word. Eliminate those; they will not be in his plan for you. You now have a realistic picture of your options to help you make a responsible, God-honoring decision. If the focus of your heart has been to please God, taking into account Biblical principles, along with any wise counsel you may have received, I suggest that you are ready to step out with the full confidence that God will work out his purposes through that decision.
This Christmas season is the perfect time to begin to focus on Jesus and his love for you. The new year looms on the horizon, but with your focus on God and his will, you can face it unafraid. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!