This Year, Let’s Look for and Remember What God Has Done

Note from Randy: My thanks to reader Carole Wildes for sharing her great article, full of Scripture and encouragement to remember God’s faithfulness. We need eyes to see His goodness around us: in faithful people, food, dogs and sunsets, sports and the arts, and the very air we breathe. All that’s good comes from God, for He is the source of all good things. Even in the hard times, may we give thanks that He is preparing a place for us of eternal goodness that will unmistakably shout His greatness and kindness for all to see.

As we begin this year, I have a question for you: what do you think about when you think of the past year?

Does your mind go to the good moments? Or straight to the bad ones? Are you glad last year is over, ready for the hope of a new one? Are you thinking maybe this year will be a good one, finally, after these last few rough ones? Or do you know something tough is coming up?

Wherever you find yourself, whether dragging your feet or excited about the months ahead, I’d like to encourage you. God has good planned for you, even in the bad things. 

I’ll say that again, to help it sink in: God has good planned for you, even in the bad things.

The good is easy to see sometimes—sometimes the good looks like what we want it to. Sometimes it matches up with our expectations of “good.” Sometimes it looks like new babies and healthy loved ones and fun vacations and good jobs and loving friends and generally enjoyable moments. 

But sometimes the good doesn’t look so good. Sometimes we can’t even tell where the good is. Sometimes the good is hidden (and hidden really well) among a whole lot of bad. Sometimes the good is camouflaged by loss and pain and sadness and longing and sickness and fear. Sometimes it seems there’s no good to be found at all.

But God.

God is always good, even when things in our lives aren’t. And God is always near to those who call on Him in truth, good to those who wait for Him, and working for the good of those who love Him and belong to Him through faith in Jesus. 

The LORD is near to all who call on Him,
to all who call on Him in truth.

Psalm 145:18

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
to the soul who seeks Him.

Lamentations 3:25

Even when the circumstances of our lives are not good, we can always find good because God is with us. God is at work. And God has promised to bring good out of ALL the things for those who are His. 

And we know that God causes all things to work together for
good to those who love God, to those who are called according
to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

We often struggle now, but we know that the here and now is not the end. This is not all there is. God has told us what He has in store for us, and it’s wonderful beyond words. No more pain or sorrow or trouble. Just beauty and joy and love and peace.

Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man,
and He will dwell with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them as their God.
‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,’
and there will be no more death
or mourning or crying or pain,
for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:3b-4

So even in the middle of our suffering, we can have hope—a sure hope, based on the trustworthiness of God Himself—hope of goodness to come, both through and after the things we’re enduring now. Such a beautiful comfort to have that hope to carry us through the hard, hard things of this life.

As you look back on the past year, and as you look forward to what’s ahead, make sure you look through the lenses of Truth—the lenses of what we know of God and His goodness and His provision and His care, the lenses of Scripture. 

Good may not always look the way we want it to…but One Day, it will. 
Good may be surrounded by awful, hard, terrible things…but One Day, ALL will be made right.
Good may be hard to find…but it’s always there, because God is always there, and He is trustworthy. His promises are true.

I’ve made a simple one-page calendar to help us notice and mark and remember what God has done in the coming year (and one for last year is below). I hope you’ll download it, print it, tuck it in your Bible, and use it to jot down things God has done and will do in your life and in the lives of your loved ones. It’s so easy for us to forget—to focus on the hard things, to neglect to see God’s provision and strength and truth and goodness and beauty because our attention is on the things we don’t want. But God tells us to fix our eyes, our thoughts, our hearts on the good—and on Him. 

See What God Has Done Calendar 2024

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever
is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything
worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

Philippians 4:8 gives us instruction on where to focus our attention. The true. The honorable. The just. The pure. The lovely. The commendable. The excellent. The praiseworthy. And note this: when it seems there is no good to fix our eyes on, Jesus Himself fulfills everything in this verse. So we always have something—Someone—good to focus on.

Whether you print out the calendar or not, I encourage you to take some time to think about the past year through the filter of Truth. Here are some questions to help you focus on what God has done:

What joyful blessings did God shower on you?
What difficult things did He bring you through? Or what difficult things is He currently bringing you through?
In what ways did God provide for you?
In what ways do you see God’s nearness and care as you look back?
In what ways did God grow you?
In what ways did God answer your prayers?
What did God teach you? How?

And as we go forward into the months ahead, I encourage us all to set a goal of noticing, writing down, and remembering what God does in our lives—and sharing that encouragement with others. As we practice this, we will be training ourselves and helping others to watch for and lean into God’s goodness, His provision, His care. He is always near, and He is always good.

In the coming year and always, 

The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

And may this calendar help you to regularly declare:

Come and see what God has done,
his awesome deeds for mankind!
Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.

Psalm 66:5, 16

Photo: Unsplash

Carole Wildes is an imperfect Jesus-follower, wife, mom of three almost-grown ‘children,’ and homeschooler, who blogs at More Than This Mess and is always grateful at the infinite ways our good God shows His grace toward us and meets us in our messes. She and her family live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and are glad to serve at Redemption Hill Church.