2017 was like a rollercoaster ride for me. It was a year of many ups and downs and a year of many firsts and much excitement. But it was also a year of many struggles and much disappointment. However, as I reflected on the past year in anticipation of the new year of 2018, I realize that even those struggles and disappointing moments were really blessings in disguise.
The past few months have been especially hard for me. I recently completed my first trimester in a very intense program that’s challenged me physically, mentally, and spiritually. Stress and lack of sleep led to a blackout episode in October. I also had a mental breakdown a few hours before a major clinical evaluation that was worth a good portion of my grade in the class. It was during this mental breakdown that God reminded me about the power and significance of prayer. When my classmates noticed that I was struggling, a few of them took me out of the classroom and started praying for me. Yes, in the middle of a busy hallway in the dental school with a lot of people walking past us. I didn’t care for those people though because as my classmates were praying for me, I felt this complete peace and warmth radiate throughout my body that I hadn’t felt before. I eventually passed the evaluation, but it wouldn’t have been possible without prayer.
That’s why I want this new year to be a year of prayer and spending time in God’s Word, not only for myself but also for our church as well. The Word gives us the encouragement, conviction, and strength we need to tackle life’s problems. Prayer changes not our circumstances, but it changes us (and sometimes our circumstances also change as a result).
It’s interesting that the first day of classes for the spring trimester is also the first day of early morning prayer at our church. Even though it’s going to be a challenge to wake up an hour or two early to pray and though I can’t physically be at church, I want to start this new year and start each day with prayer. I want to fill my daily commute to school on the train with joy as I read God’s Word.
My hope for this new year is that, as I spend time with God through His Word and through prayer, I will enjoy His presence and that He will change me and replace my anxiety with shalom peace, His perfect peace that surpasses all understanding. I hope that I will seek God’s help and peace not just before a major exam or evaluation, but as I’m learning in class, as I’m practicing in clinic, as I’m being tested, and throughout the day. When I do become anxious, I hope that I will remember our Abba Father’s assurance to us in Isaiah 41 that He is the LORD our God who takes hold of our right hand and says to us, “Do not fear; I will help you,” and “do not fear, for I am with you” (v. 13 and v.10). I hope that no matter the circumstance, I will remember God’s promise in Romans 8:28 that He works all things for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose. Lastly, I hope to have opportunities to share my personal testimony with others as I explain how my testimony relates to this research project that I’m working on this year.
All of these hopes and dreams will only be possible if I press “Ctrl+Alt+Pray.”
BEC, let’s all start the new year with a restart by pressing “Ctrl+Alt+Pray.”