2020 has been a difficult year for us and it seems we are in good company. I was reading today that according to a poll nearly 70% of Americans say that 2020 has left them feeling despondent. 77% agreed with the statement that the past year has caused an “existential crisis” for the country, while 65% of those interviewed said that they had experienced a personal crisis. People’s spirits were low, with many feeling that they’ve lost hope and courage.
For my family, this year involved the tension of a postponed wedding and several instances when the family was separated. My son wasn’t able to travel to walk his sister down the aisle when she eventually did get married and then just before Christmas his long-awaited trip home had to be canceled yet again because of COVID concerns.
I understand that it hasn’t been easy for many of you too. People are struggling with the political turmoil that has occurred this year, the harsh lockdowns, the loss of income, and other personal crises. Many have been prevented from attending Church services and cut off from fellowship our lives seem much smaller than they were this time last year. I know that there have been some positives that have come from all of this, as many of us have pressed into the Lord and seen Him pull off a few miracles along the way, but I’m sure that when I say I won’t be that sorry to see 2020 go, I speak for all of us!
As we stand on the cusp of the New Year, I asked God if He had a Word for all of us; and He instantly brought a Scripture to my mind. It comes from Deuteronomy 31:8 where Joshua was about to cross over into unknown territory of his own and Moses reminded him: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
We may not yet know what 2021 holds for us as individuals or as a nation but we do know that God intends good for those who trust Him and that He will be with us. He will never forsake His people.
One of my favorite characters from the Old Testament is Jehoshaphat. When several different armies were marching on Jerusalem and all hope seemed lost because of the insurmountable odds facing God’s people, Jehoshaphat famously worshipped God and prayed: “Lord we don’t know what to do but our eyes are on you!”
God encouraged them saying that the battle was His and though they were to take up their positions they would not have to fight for He promised to deliver them. God told them in 2 Chronicles 20:17 “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you” and if you know the story, their enemies were defeated just as God had promised.
As we face 2021 there is much uncertainty, but the Lord is reminding us that we need to take our place under His command; and that as we seek Him first in all that we do, He will go before us and bring us safely through whatever difficulties we face! The Lord will be with us! Jesus promised in John 16:33 that in Him we can know true peace. He said that in this world we will have trouble but we can take heart because He has overcome the world!
My prayer is that God would truly bless you in 2021. No matter what lies ahead, remember what the Psalmist encouraged in Psalm 55:22 that if you “Cast your cares on the Lord … He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.”
Happy New Year! He is with us!