The year 2020 will be known as the year a tiny mighty virus took over the world. Most of us will not be sorry when the year ends at midnight, December 31. We are limping into the end of 2020, isolated by Covid19, grieving losses of loved ones and friends, separated from our normal gatherings having experienced unbelievable sadness, great loss and profound change. It has been a long, strange, and difficult year.
However, as we enter a new decade, let us take courage and do what we can. Paul wrote, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me” (Philippians 3:14). We too need to press on—continue moving forward in a determined way, regardless of the discouragements around us.
So, what should we do after the darkness of 2020?
First, let’s not doubt in the darkness what God has promised in the light. God’s Word is true whether things are happy or dreary, encouraging or deplorable. God does not change, and neither do His promises. The 19th century preacher, Charles Spurgeon, declared, “I would sooner walk in the dark and hold hard to a promise of God, than to trust in the light of the brightest day that ever dawned.”
Also, most of our forefathers have had it much worse. Ted Bauer, editor of White Rock Locators, wrote: “It’s a mess out there now. But for some perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900. On your 14th birthday, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday. Later that year the Spanish Flu hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday, and 50 million people die from it in those two years. On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, and that lasts until you are 33. Around your 39th birthday, World War II starts, and from then until your 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war. Smallpox was epidemic until you were in your 40’s, and it killed 300 million people during your lifetime. At 50, the Korean War starts and 5 million perish. At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. Four million people perish in that conflict.”
Bauer ends his blog with this: “Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How did they endure all of that? When you were a kid in 1985, you didn’t think your 85-year-old grandparent understood how hard school was. Or, he didn’t get how mean that kid in your class was. Yet your grandparents survived through everything listed above. Perspective is an amazing art. Refined and enlightening as time goes on. Let’s try and keep things in perspective. Your parents and grandparents were called to endure all of the above—and you are called to stay home and sit on your couch.” (www.WhiteRockLocators.com).
Additionally, Christians need to remember: If you are living and breathing, God has a plan for your life. For believers in Christ, when life is over for us here, we will go to meet the Lord in heaven and as future believers, will “rest from their labors” (Revelation 14:13). But until your last “Goodbye”—God wants you to serve Him. There is a purpose for your life as long as you have breath. Jesus said, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). So, if you survived 2020—Get busy serving the Lord! He is still working on, in and through you!
The psalmist Asaph must have faced similar problems when he wrote, “In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; In the night my hand was stretched out without weariness; My soul refused to be comforted” (Psalm 77:2). What follows are several ways Asaph dealt with his troubles, which may help us. When facing dark days, what can encourage you?
1. Remember God’s Wonders—“I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old” (Psalm 77:11).
When Asaph remembered God’s wonders, His creation, His handiwork, and all the things God had done in the past, it encouraged him. The beauty of God’s creation, its vastness and majesty, helps put our small problems into proper perspective. Stop and remember what God has done.
2. Meditate on God’s Character—“I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds. Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God?” (verses 12-13).
To meditate is to turn a truth over and over, as you consider it from every angle. Asaph quietly focused his thinking on God, His work, His deeds and His ways. In the midst of trials, don’t forget the holy, sinless, perfect character of the God you serve.
3. Consider God’s Power—“You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples” (verse 14).
When overwhelmed and overpowered by negative news or outright assaults, consider the power of the God you serve. He is the God who works wonders. He is all-powerful. When overcome by the storm, call on Him who can still the storm with a spoken word.
4. Trust in God’s Redemption—“You have by Your power redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph” (verse 15).
In the midst of trials, trust in the One who redeemed you. God gave His Son for your salvation and redemption from sin. This truth drove Paul to write, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us” (Romans 8:31-34, NLT). So, my friend, press on.