Yesterday I saw a sign on a liquor store that read: “Forget 5 o’clock somewhere. It’s 2020 everywhere. Drink when you want.” Other common sentiments from 2020 are similar. We can’t wait for 2020 to be over with so we can all put it behind us. But how should we think of 2020 from a Christian perspective? Here are 3 encouragements:
1. Let’s not forget the circumstances of many who have had and have it much worse.
Today, over 1.7 million people have died worldwide from COVID. In 1918 the Spanish Flu killed 50 million. World War 2? 75 million.
Of course, COVID isn’t the only problem in 2020. Some even in our church still have not been able to find employment. We know of two churches in our circles who closed.
I don’t intended to downplay serious struggles people have had in 2020 (see point 2 below). However, we aren’t the only people who have had difficulty, and our difficulty is not as great as many who have gone before us. Let’s not forget world wars, the Great Depression, and our brothers and sisters who face serious persecution for their faith in Christ. It’s insulting and arrogant to act as if we are in such a horrible state because we have to teach our children math while we have the ability to meet a doctor on our phone and have them mail us medicine.
2. Let’s sympathize with those who have faced significant challenges in 2020.
One of the reasons COVID has brought so much frustration is how people have tried to leverage it for personal and political gain. Because of this, it has been difficult to know what’s true or not. The Lord will sort all of this out at the judgment seat.
But until then, real people have died. Real people are living in fear. Real people aren’t sure where long-term income is coming from. And Romans 12:15 is true: “Weep with those who weep.” Even if 2020 hasn’t been as bad of a year as many believe it to be, that doesn’t mean we should belittle those who are struggling or hurting.
I submit that saying things like, “It’s just the flu!” Or, “It’s all a hoax!” is unkind and insensitive to those who had to watch their grandparents’ funerals on Facebook live. Let’s put ourselves in others’ shoes regardless of how others have twisted this year.
3. Let’s consider 2020 as joy.
The year has been a blessing to me and my family. We’ve spent more time together than normal. I’ve learned how flexible and diligent my wife and daughters are. I’ve learned how committed you are at Central Oaks. I’ve seen God provide for us in many ways. We’ve welcomed several new people to our church. It’s been a great year!
It has been challenging. We’ve had to make quick decisions and develop protocols based on health regulations. I’ve had to decide quickly if gathering in person is something that is worth breaking government mandates or suggestions, and had to discern which is which.
But I do count it all joy, and so should all of us as followers of Jesus. What does the testing of our faith produce? Steadfastness. Let steadfastness have it’s full effect, that we might be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4).
This past year has been a year we won’t soon forget, but if we are in Christ, we can’t lose. That’s true for 2020, 2021, and every other year. Remember Romans 8:28, give thanks, and ask God to prepare us for what He has for us in 2021.