So how many of you are ready for 2020 to be over? I feel like I hear that a lot. As if in 10 days life will be exponentially better.
Think about it.
2020 began as every new year begins, with new hope and new promise – with the bonus of being a new decade with a catchy phrase: 2020 Vision. Remember that? Every pastor preached the same New Year’s message titled something like 2020 Vision.
2020 has been a tough year, to say the least; pandemic, quarantine, social unrest, political divide… and those were just the highlights. I am pretty sure there were few people imagining this back in December 2019 as we anticipated the dawn of this new decade: the 2020s.
I assure you that was not God’s vision either. In the beginning, God created a perfect world, and then sin entered, and well, we all know how that turned out – pandemics, quarantine, social unrest, political divide. In fact, as we lament over our current situation, they all pale in comparison to what our ancestors have endured – or our fellow humans across the globe endure even now as we speak – war, famine, genocide, human trafficking… just to name a few.
The reality is that this world is fallen and broken. It is not ever going to be perfect until Christ comes again to make it so; until then, this is the world we live in. What do we do with it?
Many people I meet are just trying to get through.
It was never God’s intention for you to just get through the day, the week, the year… life. God wants to do a new thing in you and through you, for your growth and God’s glory, and it is happening now, in this moment, do not miss it!
God’s word says God is with us – always. God continues the work in us and through us – and all around us. Even during the darkest times, God’s word tells us God is always doing a new thing, even if we can’t see it, or imagine that it might be good.
For all the bad in 2020 (and I have had some personal bad things – just like you), there are things that have been good about 2020 also. I am sure you can think of one thing right now. I had a new grandson born in 2020. I got to spend four months living with my husband during quarantine in 2020. I started a new career in 2020. I have the privilege of being the live-in chaplain/pastor/emergency support specialist at “Sean’s House” in 2020… just my highlights.
I’ve come to see that God is always doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:18-19) and that God is always working to heal what sin has distorted or devastated in our lives, for our good and for God’s glory (Romans 8:28).
We just cannot always see it in the moment.
It is easy to get distracted by the negative news feed and feel like Chicken Little (the sky is falling!). Please do not think that I mean to belittle the current crises, they are real. But what if we took a step back and, instead of wishing the year away, pause for a moment to see what God has been doing in and through it all? A new perspective might just change your world.
I heard a good sermon the other day by Christine Caine, she was talking about how we always are looking to get “there” but we are always “here.” Think about that. We never actually ever get “there” because when we do, we have reached the new “here.” That message resonates with me as I think about 2020. We want to get “there” – 2021 – but we will still just be “here.” And what then? Do we look for the new “there” and overlook the “here” where God is at work in and through us – even if we are going through hard times? It is the hard times that shape us, smooth us out, perfect us.
It has been my experience that in the middle of my “here,” God is always doing way more than I could ever hope for or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). God is making sure I am ready for when I get “there.”
What if we took the next 10 days and really looked for God at work? What if we looked for the good in our day, our week, or our year? What has been good for you in 2020? What is God doing in your “here” and how might it be preparing you for your “there?”
The fullness of who you were created to be can never be realized in a single year, but happens over time – a lifetime.
My prayer for you is that you will find your hope, peace, and joy not in a year, but in a lifetime of following Jesus.
Cheers to 2020.
P.S. “Sean’s House” is a place for young people, 14-24, to find peer support, get help connecting to professional resources, or just hang out. At Sean’s House, those who struggle with any kind of mental illness or suicidal thoughts can find others who understand what they are going through and want to encourage you as you walk through it. Someone is available at Sean’s House 24/7 for emergency support. The door is open for community-use and for regular visitation 8am – 8pm – and we always have coffee, tea, and cookies. Come visit!
136 West Main St.
Newark, DE 19711