Would you agree with me that 2020 was broken? This time last year we were excited about a new year and a new decade. January 2020 was filled with new beginnings for my husband and I as we moved into our new home after relocating from Washington to Texas. We looked forward to opportunities to serve in our new church home and in our community. In February I was offered a job. We were beginning to feel secure, until COVID and lock down hit our world. Soon after came social unrest and financial distress. The hopes, dreams, and security for many people were crushed as 2020 shattered into a broken mess.
Along with the brokenness came uncertainty. My job offer, gone. Our routine of attending services at our new church home, gone. Our opportunity to visit family in Washington, gone. Where do we find hope when we face the unknown? We find hope when we trust God.
I am not spouting some idealistic fantasy. My confidence in God is rooted in scripture and personal experience. The Bible reveals the truth of God's character and His work in a broken world; broken by sin, sickness, and death. Here's two truths that help me work through uncertainty, and I hope encourages you.
Truth #1: God's Sovereignty
God was not shocked by the events of 2020. He remains in control even when chaos surrounds us.
The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them (Psalm 89:11, ESV).
The Maker of heaven and earth has not loosened His grip on creation, especially His most precious creation: people.
Truth #2: Jesus' Warning and Promise
Jesus gave a warning and a promise in John 16:33: In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
If we believe these words of Jesus, then we can face the world's calamity by focusing on the Savior. He overcame sin and death through the cross and His resurrection. Jesus gives us power to overcome the world's trouble.
This is not to say that we ignore the grief and frustration caused by the events of 2020. However, when we turn our focus from the circumstances to the One who has "overcome the world", then we unleash His power to work in our lives.
Our Response: Faith and Priorities
We respond to God's sovereignty and Christ's power through faith that aligns our priorities. Abraham is our role model for living a life of faith.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise (Hebrews 11:8-9, ESV).
Abraham's journey required a fierce faith so that he could face the uncertainty of his destination. For many people, that's the key word that describes their circumstances: uncertain of their next paycheck, uncertain if they will survive the virus, uncertain of when school will resume . . . Faith guards against worry when life's destination is unknown.
Jesus had something to say about worry. And priorities.
Seek first [God's] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:33-34, NIV).
Notice Jesus was realistic about hard times. He didn't deny the reality of trouble, however He gave us a way to exercise our faith: focus on the things of God and allow Him to work on our behalf.
In recent months we've had opportunities to apply these faith lessons. In July I listed my losses due to the pandemic and I grieved. I know! Seems morbid but stay with me! Then I gave these losses to the Lord. Next, I listed my blessings that came into my life because of COVID. My blessing list was greater than my loss list! I praised God for His faithfulness during this broken year. Hopefully, you have similar faith stories of how God blessed you in 2020.
Focus for the New Year
As we enter a new year, may we be encouraged to focus on the One who remains faithful to His people. May we walk confidently into 2021 with our great God!
Friends, I want to hear from you. Here's some questions that will give us an opportunity to encourage and pray for one another. Either respond on the blog page or through the contact page.
What was your greatest loss in 2020?
What was your greatest blessing in 2020?
What are you looking forward to in 2021?
How can I pray for you?