Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:1-6
I’ve been alive for the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, the Vietnam war, wars in the Middle East, innumerable natural tragedies, 9/11, all of which altered life in some way. As a young boy, I was shielded from some changes simply because I didn’t know what things were like before. But, as an adult, I know very well the before and after. And 2020 appears to be bringing changes to how life will be.
I believe we’ll be talking about 2020 for the rest of our lives. The nexus of injustices made evident, an election year, COVID-19, the death of family members, to name a few, will make sure of that. And we’ll recite what happened, and how they could have been handled better by all. While these conversations don’t help a whit the experiences as we lived them, they can inform our living through more calamity when it comes. Perhaps we’ll be able to learn much from 2020, giving credence to the phrase, ‘Hindsight is 2020.’
My prayer is we’ve learned leaning on anything other than Christ is like leaning on a broken rod and its painful result (Isaiah 36:6). Learning trust in the Lord and not humans would be the best result to this prayer. God is perfect, man isn’t. God’s direction is with perfect vision, humans’ is accomplished through dirty lenses and the fog of self. God is worthy of our unfettered trust!
Anchoring trust in God might begin with making a timeline. Draw your timeline since March 2020, when things really spun up. Write down, as best you can, the dates of things which seemed insurmountable and things that didn’t. As the memories come back, and you recall those good or bad times, jot down how God was present with you. If you didn’t feel his presence, write that down, too. Write it all down as you remember it. Then, share your timeline with friends and family. When you do, perhaps conversation will remind you of God’s presence you may have missed or forgotten. As the years go by, and you experience difficult times, look back and remember God’s presence in 2020, and how he was with you, especially when you didn’t realize it. I believe you’ll find God’s with you once again.
By Rich Obrecht