Friends, we made it. The last day of 2020 is here and tomorrow we will move into a new year. Before we do that, let’s take one last look at a year many of us will be happy to leave in the past. This time last year (2019) we were using the catch phrase 2020 vision and hoping for a year that brought things into clear focus for us. Fast forward 365 days and we surely have a new vision, but for many (if not a majority) it is vastly different than what they were hoping for.
I want to hold space for those of you who faced one of the hardest years you’ve yet known and also for those of you who other than a whole new world with covid regulations had a pretty good year. There is room for both experiences. I have friends who have lost loved ones, who have had children diagnosed with cancer, friends who are walking through relapses and navigating children with special needs. I also have friends who are filled with joy over carrying precious life, friends who checked multiple things off of their bucket lists, friends with news to celebrate and reason to cheer. You, like many might find yourself wondering what to take from 2020. Some have called it a dumpster fire – wanting to burn the whole thing to the ground and never look back, some are walking into 2021 with fear in their hearts because of what 2020 became, others are holding precious memories near and maybe you have a foot in both camps. Perhaps it was a hard year but you have also seen good come from it. This tension of an old year ending and a new one starting is always challenging to navigate. Wherever this day finds you, let’s take a moment to quiet our hearts before the Lord and ponder His leading throughout this last year.
It may be easy, if you are on the side who came out of 2020 relatively unscathed to walk into 2021 rejoicing in all He has done. There is reason to celebrate. You may however find yourself questioning where God was and if your heart will ever be the same again, there is reason to mourn. I am a firm believer that no matter what our circumstances say God is at work. Romans 8:28 tells us He WILL work out everything (yes, even a year such as 2020) for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.
So then what do we take from a year that has left many broken? We walk (even if its with a limp) away from this year with the full knowledge that God is in control and as my husband’s aunt would say is the ‘blessed controller of all things”. God has plans for our lives and even when they hurt and leave us scratching our heads they are for our good. God gives and takes away blessed be the name of our Lord. Job 1:21
We are able to enter 2021 knowing that His love for us is never ending.Remember God feels what we feel, He weeps when we weep and rejoices when we rejoice. He wept knowing the pain we were walking through. Did He allow the pain? Ultimately yes, but He wept. We serve a God who has a heart for His people, a God who is relational and wants what is best for us. He is not a task master or a God who forcefully demands our praise. He does not take delight out of our suffering or revel in our pain. He loves, Oh how He loves!
We can take the moments where we all came together to help each other towards ‘the greater good’. Scroll back in your news feeds and you will see it. Images of people buying cart loads of food for the needy, people donating what they had, people fighting for justice. Let’s take the sense of community we fostered and continue building on that in years to come. Let’s fight for justice and mercy. Lets walk humbly with our God.
Because really if we can take those two things – the love of God and others – with us from 2020 we can walk away with our heads held a little higher, our hearts a little lighter and our vision a bit more clear. Here is to 2020, the lessons it left us with and the ways it brought us closer to God and to each other. Let’s walk into 2021 knowing He will never forsake us, He goes before us in all of our days!
Soli deo gloria.