Reflecting on 2020 and looking ahead

It’s no understatement to say that 2020 has been a difficult year.

Many of us came into 2020 with ideas of 20/20 vision and there is something about “decade years” that makes them seem more important, but March of 2020 changed the life of virtually every human on the planet. This is a unique moment in history that seems to happen every 100 years or so.

Growing up in Florida, I’ve lived through many hurricanes. Powerful hurricanes are devastating for sure, but their impact is limited to a specific region or area. The COVID-19 virus did something that none of us who are alive have ever seen before. Nearly all of the 7+ Billion humans that are on earth found ourselves in the same boat. It is fascinating to think that an invisible force brought the entire planet to a halt. 

It also reminds us just how frail, delicate, and truly not in control of our lives we really are.

Retrospectively, 2020 really did bring about 20/20 vision for us as people. Many businesses were impacted, some for good, some for bad. Many marriages were pushed to the brink. Lots of kids were forced to do school in front of a screen and we will be dealing with the mental and emotional impact of this event for years to come. Churches and non-profits were pushed to the edge. In all honesty, we are still living in a lot of that tension as we look forward to turning the page on 2020. But here is what 2020 has done for us. 

It has turned out to be a great revealer of what we have built our lives on.

If our lives have floundered as a result of this year, there are probably some areas where we might have realized that we have built our proverbial houses on the sand. If we have thrived personally, it has revealed that we have built our houses on the rock.

This gives us the opportunity to course correct and make some things right. Clearly, certain things in the business world were deeply impacted, no matter how rock solid your business was. When people can’t eat out, for example, your restaurant is going to end up in the red. But, I’m speaking more of what all of these events have produced in our souls.

Few people are going to look back at 2020 with fondness in their hearts, and that is understandable.

Reality is, no matter how difficult this year has been, no matter what tensions it has produced in your life, this year is a gift.

Why you ask? Clarity. Whether personally, in a family setting, or organizationally, clarity is a true gift. It reminds us of what is actually important. It gives us the gift of reorienting our priorities and reframing our problems. Scripture is pretty clear about how we should live our lives… we should do it all with rejoicing and with thanksgiving (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) regardless of whether the circumstances we find ourselves in are good or bad.

Many people have lost their lives as a result of this pandemic. This is profoundly saddening and our deepest sympathy and compassion is with you if you have lost a loved one on any level. We stand with you, we love you and we are always here as a spiritual family to pray for you and serve you. Yet even if the worst of this pandemic has touched your family, it still gives us the opportunity to experience the grace and peace of God in a fresh way. It gives us the ability to lean on Him, to ask Him for His help and to beg Him to come and meet us in our despair. This deeper fellowship of knowing God is so magnificent and so soul satisfying.  His presence in our lives is one of the greatest gifts we will ever receive.

As we look to 2021, ask God to help you process this past year.

Ask Him to give you grace for the upcoming year so that no matter what 2021 holds for us, we will move forward, building our lives on the Rock. Ask Him to empower us with the lessons we have learned in 2020, to move with us, and to shape our souls more into the image of Christ. We can have hope as followers of Jesus, not because of the fact that we have a blind hope that 2021 will be “better” or our circumstances won’t be as bad, but because the God in us is greater and more powerful than any unseen virus or any seen mountain.
Ross Middleton
Associate Pastor
HighPoint Church Orlando

No Comments