A Word For 2017


water-picI am a sponge, and I desperately need to soak in God.

The thought unraveled in my head one afternoon as I sat in my living room, looking out the window. Snowflakes glittered and Christmas lights shined – a happy sight – and yet all I could do at the moment was somberly stare them down. I was mulling over the past year and considering the year to come, a normal and appropriate December activity, especially for a melancholy writer-type. As anxiety crept in, I remembered Christ’s words to Martha and applied them to myself:

[Anna, Anna], you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary. (Luke 10:41-42, NASB)

And that’s when I pictured myself as a sponge and knew that only God Himself could satisfy my longings for the year to come.

***

“So do you have a word for 2017?” she asked. “You know… a phrase or something. That you’ll try to live by this year.” She smiled and took a sip of coffee. “Mine is ‘lean and embrace.’ That’s what I want to do this year. Lean in to my fears. Embrace what life brings. But what about you?”

I set my mug on the table as my mind climbed back to the memory from two weeks previous. Usually a question like this would catch me off guard, but I had an answer before being asked. I related my memory to my friend.

“So what would your word be?” she asked. “Bask? Soak?”

I paused and perched my chin on top of a fist. “I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to think about it.”

***

Today, on this New Year’s Eve, I have been searching the Scriptures, looking for a word in the Word, trying to bring clarity to the concept my mind has been fumbling over. Perhaps it is most clearly expressed in Psalm 42:

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1-2, NASB)

The wonderful beauty of this season is celebrating that God was the One to appear to us. We could never stand before a holy God, but He loved us so much that “He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NASB) The Son offers water, and “whoever drinks of the water that [He] will give him shall never thirst; but the water that [He] will give him will become a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14, NASB) Psalm 42:7 continues with, “Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.” God has certainly drenched us in His lovingkindness by giving us the gift of Christ.

I suppose if I had to choose a word or phrase for 2017, it would be “drink Christ.” It is tempting to scheme up ways to get my hands on the elixirs of this world that offer the fleeting pleasures of success, financial stability, popularity, and health. But nothing satisfies and gives true life like the rich, cool waters of the Son of God. May I ever seek to drink deeply from Him.

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  1. I recently read that verse of the deer and the brook. At the time I was conciously trying to increase my water intake (for health reasons), but the water reference regarding our thirst for His Word sunk in deeply. I love your analogy of the SPONGE! I’ve tried putting into words how I NEED my church. Yes, I can read the Bible at home, but I THIRST for the organized worship that my brick church and fellowship of my church family provide. God’s richest blessings for you in the coming year, Anna!

    • Thank you so much, Tracy! I am so glad you have been blessed by those verses, too. Yes, the sponge analogy just kind of popped into my head one day! Thanks for reading, and blessings to you as well!

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