As you look back on 2020, what conclusions do you make? Was it the worst year ever, in your view? Recently, I was in a debate about this with 2 of my siblings. I commented that, at least for me, one of my worst years ever was 2016, which saw the rapid decline in the health and well-being of our parents. Our sister agreed. Our younger brother, though, responded by reminding us that our nephew had been born that year and that he and his fiancée got married. It’s so important to try to keep perspective, isn’t it?
As I try to hold a more balanced perspective on 2016, I am reminded that it was the year that I felt God prompted to start the process of becoming an adoptive parent. It’s also the year when I was reinvited to my appointment in the Newcastle West Circuit. Suddenly the year 2016 doesn’t look so bleak after all.
Of course, at the time, when we’re trying to navigate through difficult times, it’s not always an easy thing to hold perspective. There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a traumatic year. Who could have imagined as we entered the New Year this time last year that we would face a World-Wide Pandemic? It’s right and proper that we acknowledge the great suffering of so many people. Yet, somehow, I believe we also need to remember the many positive happenings of the past year too. The people who have given so much of themselves for others. Let’s try to hold a balanced perspective of 2020 as we move in to 2021.
From a Christian point of view, we are given a whole new perspective on life. Listen to these words from 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NLT):
‘For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last for ever! So, we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last for ever!’
These words remind us that we don’t have to keep our eyes fixed on our current troubles. Instead, we can focus on all that is coming – in all that God has ahead for us – in this life and the next.
One of the TV programmes I watched over the Christmas period was ‘Call the Midwife’. Gloria, had tragically lost 7 babies. She was now pregnant with the 8th and understandably terrified that all would ‘come off the rails’ again. Shelagh, her midwife, encouraged Gloria to talk about her babies so that she could begin to believe in the possibility of a more positive future and not remain trapped in the past. As Shelagh commented, ‘mothers are having to let go all the time, otherwise there would be no room for love.’
As we move on in to 2021, what do we need to ‘let go of’, so that we can make room for love in our lives?
How can we find hope in God that doesn’t airbrush over our difficulties but helps us to hold a healthy perspective and to believe that we will flourish again – that we can find joy, even in those challenging times?
I finish by offering these words from the late Baptist Pastor, Adrian Rogers - ‘Wisdom is looking at life from God’s point of view.’
May God bless you and keep you in His everlasting love and care in 2021.
Your sister in Christ, Juliet