The Year that is 2020

For those souls up at midnight on December 31, 2019, who would have forecasted what 2020 would bring? Certainly not me. As I ushered in the New Year, I never anticipated the situation we are in today.

I was looking forward to my youngest son (Jonathan) getting married to a sweet young lady (TJ) at the Capital building in Harrisburg, PA. I was looking forward to the ongoing school year, along with its sporting events, arts activities, outdoor projects, and graduation. I anticipated the NCAA March Madness Tournament. I looked forward to the college football season for the University of Louisville and a possible trip to Notre Dame with Jonathan.

But that was not to be. Many of our life activities, for the most part, have been cancelled, postponed, or at the very least, been altered dramatically. And all because of a world-wide pandemic caused by a microscopic Coronavirus. This virus has shut down what was arguably the greatest economic expansion this country has ever seen. Unfortunately, it is also dividing our nation even more than it already was. Sadly, this division has crept into what was once thought to be a very united church.

So, what are we to do? Should we sit idly just hoping it will pass while Satan enjoys the havoc, he is placing everyone in? No! The battle is raging and we must go on the offensive.

Surely God has seen the suffering of His people as he did when He heard Israel’s cry as it suffered in Egypt (Ex. 3:7). He will hear us today. Yes, we need to pray that this pandemic will end quickly. But even if it does not, we must pray for endurance so we will not utter, “my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord’” (Lamentations 3:17-18). Instead, let us say as Paul did, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” (Rom. 5:3-4).

After praying for endurance, praying for humility will be essential. We should all practice introspection and ask, “Are we truly being humble with our brothers and sisters in this pandemic?” As we recently studied in Philippians, we must take on the attitude of Jesus Christ and “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). Can we truly say we are esteeming others ahead of ourselves and truly mean it? Are we honestly taking in consideration the cares, concerns, fears of our brethren, no matter how trivial or silly they seem to us? Are we willing to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of their conscience and spiritual wellbeing? I sure hope so.

We must also study God’s Word on a daily basis. This will help us tackle any problem that may arise, and prepare our hearts in how to respond. Second Timothy 2:15 tells us to “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (KJV).

So, what other trials, storms, calamities will 2020 bring? I do not know, but I know the One who created the heavens and earth. As God said to Joshua: “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7-9). I believe these words still speak to us today!