It’s a new week, and as we rest and recharge for the New Year, I want to take a moment and reflect on the year that has been filled with so many ups and downs.
The pandemic of 2020 tops the list of our crazy year. When the year began, I was jet setting for January and half of February for different personal and work activities.
After recuperating from those trips, the pandemic struck. Like so many people worldwide, we thought our lives would be inconvenienced for a month or two, but ten months later, we are still in a battle with COVID-19.
Families have changed forever because of the destruction this virus has inflicted. I don’t know where you stand on the virus or the mask issue, but I know we can all agree that our lives have been changed because of the virus.
Millions of people have been impacted by their work, and others wonder where their next meal is coming from. I personally know many people who were out of work during the pandemic.
Thankfully, many of them have returned to work, but others are still waiting for their return.
As you recall, this podcast got its beginnings from a daily devotional study for my church small group.
Even though my day job was considered “essential,” it did not exempt me from stress, anxiety, and even fear. Creating the devotional series for my small group helped me process the emotions I was experiencing.
And a lot of prayer walks.
The verse that helped me the most throughout the pandemic year is,
> “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
God never meant for us to carry our burdens and stress every day. In fact, it weighs us down if we don’t release it. The toll stress and anxiety take on our bodies physically can lead to many other health issues.
Stress has become part of our normal existence that we expect it or even welcome it until it’s too late.
If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, you are not alone. In fact, I spent way too many days burdened by stress and anxiety than I care to admit.
You might be thinking, was there any good that happened in 2020?
The pandemic, social unrest, epic storm systems, religious freedom battles, and crazy elections were not the only things that happened this year.
We saw incredible breakthroughs in medicine and workplace behaviors.
Each day, God gave us a sunrise and a sunset.
This year, while the world was in chaos, many people worldwide opened their hearts to Christ for the first time.
In the U.S. alone, more than **600,000** people accepted Christ in the first 12 weeks of the pandemic.
In parts of South America, over **25** people accepted Christ and were baptized.
In parts of Africa, about **1,000** people accepted Christ and were baptized, including several Muslims.
In areas of concern, many are coming to faith through dreams and opening their hearts to the Gospel of Christ as never before.
Even though the pandemic raged, God is still working to seek and save those who are lost.
As we recall, Samaritan’s Purse set up a field hospital in Central Park to help those who had COVID. Many of the people who entered the field hospital would not emerge alive; the one thing they did not do was die alone. They were cared for and loved by physicians and staff whose hearts were surrendered to the King of Kings.
Even now, as we see a rise in cases across the country, God is still at work. We may not see His master plan, but there is no mistake – He is with us.
As you rest and recharge and put to bed in 2020, my hope is you will take a few minutes to write down all the things you are grateful for in 2020.
I have a hunch your list may be longer than you realize.
Let’s look forward with anticipation to 2021 and thank the Lord for His provision, love, grace, and mercy.
I hope you have a blessed New Year and a wonderful start to your 2021!
Lord, thank you for your provision, protection, care, love, grace, and mercy during a difficult year. Thank you for bringing many people into your kingdom this year who may not have heard the truth if it wasn’t for the pandemic and other events. Please grant us rest and refreshment as we begin a new year. We ask for quick healing for sick people with the virus, and we ask you to eradicate the virus from our lands. We thank you and love you. Amen!