End of the year reflections
All around us people are saying “good riddance” to 2020. I have found myself joining in with this sentiment all too quickly. Good riddance to lockdowns, toilet paper shortages, people living in fear and isolation, and the ever-present CoVid reports, feeding our anxiety. But what if we could look back at this year, and forward to 2021 with a rather more biblical outlook? I read this in my quiet time this morning:
“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, since it is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:4-5
This pretty much jumped off the page at me. Everything created by God is good? CoVid? Racial violence? Political squabbling among brothers and sisters? How are these things good?
Because, as it says at the end of this passage, it is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer. I was deeply moved by a discussion with Susan Hunt recently about how God has enabled her to persevere through many decades of ministry. She reflected that nothing that God allows in our lives is wasted. Nothing. Even the things we see as bad, or as difficult, or as roadblocks, are things that God will use to shape us and accomplish HIS plans. As a very practical example of this, as she grieves the death of her husband of 57 years, God has even brought her joy. Joy despite her tears. JOY. That testimony means that in whatever God may bring in 2021 I can look for and find joy in Him. Not in the circumstances perhaps, but in Him. This is pretty basic stuff, but I seem to need to learn it over and over.
As part of my aim to find joy in what God has for me in 2021 (and in looking back on 2020) , I plan to read through the Bible this coming year. I confess, I cheated and started this morning, because I know that I will miss some days and getting a head start will at least keep me on track for a while. That’s just how my warped mind works….. I found a plan I like on the Ligonier website (https://www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/). I will be following the Historical Reading plan found on that list – slightly different than any plan I have used in the past, and realistic (I think) for me in the amount of reading each day.
If you are planning to read through the Bible this year, let me know! Maybe we can even find a way to encourage one another to keep going in the middle of February when the weather is gloomy and we have hit a dry spell.
Reading through the Bible is just one aspect of keeping my eyes fixed on the Lord in 2021, and looking back on 2020 with less pessimism and more trust in what God has accomplished in me. But it is one way I can begin the days with my heart and mind planted in His Word, and begin to take that with me through the days, whatever they may bring.
So goodbye 2020 and welcome 2021! These are the days that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in them!