It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the reality of a pandemic turning life upside down in 2020. The mask wearing, social distance, lockdowns, and enormous loss of freedom is still hard to fathom. Yet nothing about it – not the threat of war, the coronavirus and the always-changing government mandates, the riots, the wildfires, the contentious and baffling election, let alone the events in my own personal life that never made the headlines – none of these things took God by surprise.
We’ve always been a family that stays busy, especially when it comes to work. Our landscaping business was deemed essential, and so remained open, but the virus and our participation in an age old, government-controlled guest worker program made 2020 the most trying season we’ve encountered in 30 years.
Outside of work, the mandate to shelter in place forced us to slow down and enjoy the beautiful things in life. We found these to be plentiful.
We had our plans for the year, but as always, the Lord determined our steps (Proverbs 16:9).
If someone asked you for a word to describe 2020, chances are you might say something like frustrating, scary, or exhausting. In fact, most of us might have difficulty limiting our selection to just one word, but one word is exactly how 2020 began for me (you can read the post where I share it here). One word is a lot more “do-able” for me than a laundry list of resolutions that fail within weeks. A word helps me find my way forward even when things get rough, and this year’s word was no exception.
faith·ful/ˈfāTHfəl/Learn to pronounce
- remaining loyal and steadfast.
2020 had its share of invaluable lessons. The greatest included a reminder that blessings can come from even the most unlikely places, and a new word emerged.
We rarely teach about disappointment in Sunday school or church. It’s a harsh word that speaks of personal failure and frustration. Verbalizing disappointment out loud can be challenging, especially during a pandemic where people are losing their jobs, their businesses and their loved ones. It feels almost petty to be upset over a lost vacation, a cancelled activity, and failed expectations in people from the pulpit to the pew.
Scripture promises that we “find joy in trials and tribulations, knowing that the tribulations produces perseverance, and perseverance produces hope. And hope does not disappoint.” (Romans 5:3-5). If you’re feeling disappointment over how 2020 turned out for you (or didn’t) you might feel guilty about feeling that way, too.
I have a hunch that behind many of the smiles and Instagram posts were some really hard moments for people reading this post, and I’m not just referring to toilet paper shortages. I know there were for me.
I’ve always fought the compulsion to say the “right thing,” rather than be real and admit when things get hard. Neglecting the truth will eventually make one spiritually sick, which might just be worse than getting COVID-19, at least from a soul perspective.
In a year that was defined as faithful, God showed me that my disappointment didn’t make me unfaithful, it made me human. I have real thoughts, real feelings, and real emotions. Disappointments, even in large doses, are a part of life that showcase God’s reliability even when the world is tumultuous.
It blows my mind to see how the word He gives me each year comes together to write a beautiful story. 2020 has arguably been one of the most challenging twelve months most of us have experienced, and there’s a fair chance 2021 will be challenging, too. Having a word like faithful to cling to has taught me a lot, even as a new word emerges to shape 2021.
[ bih-leev ]SHOW
verb (used without object), be·lieved, be·liev·ing.
to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so:
Only if one believes in something can one act purposefully.
What you believe influences how you live, no matter who you are. W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
God was faithful in 2020. As I turn the page to a new year, I believe He will do it again, because that’s just who He is. He is faithful, and that is something I believe no matter what happens in the world around me.
Posted edited by E. M. Bane