We all will agree that 2020 has been quite a year. Those longing for this year to be over and done with think differently than me. I have never been one to think things miraculously change just because the date does. The tests and trials will continue, they just may be different. And for many, the tests and trials of this year are continuing. I have three dear friends in the hospital right now. One in Nevada in an ICU due to Covid complications. She has been there for several weeks. Praying and believing for life and not death, that she will awake from her coma and come back to us. In Tennessee, another friend was just moved from ICU to a regular room with severe head trauma and bleeding in the brain. A third friend is in Arizona, also in ICU with doctors trying to sort out his situation. None of these situations are “light” to us or their family members, but 2 Corinthians 4:17 describes our light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. The New Living translation: for our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.
Affliction: something that causes pain or suffering. My friends and their families are enduring the pain and suffering of watching their loved ones endure these hospital stays. We are standing and believing for God’s intervention and healing to be manifest for all of them. I have been there. When my husband suffered his heart attack and subsequent stroke, it did not feel “light” or “momentary”. It shattered my world. However, I kept on looking up. Looking to Him, the author and finisher of my faith. I felt weak and insufficient to the task, but through God’s grace and the body of Christ help, we made it day by day. That situation revealed areas of strengths and my weaknesses.
I believe God desires to use all the tests of 2020 to show off the good work He has done in us. They also revealed any areas of immaturity, fear, and childishness. The “I don’t want to wear a mask”, “I don’t want to do on-line learning” or have my kids home 24/7 etc. The really difficult issues were deaths, lost jobs and businesses that were forced to close. But even those are considered “light” afflictions in the light of eternity. As we battled through “it’s not fair” or “it’s too inconvenient” we either matured, or fell into anger, frustration and resentment. It was easy to fall into the “what about me” syndrome; forgetting that this was a world wide pandemic and many had it worse than we did.
Revelation 14 describes the pouring out of God’s wrath on those who worshipped the beast and his statue and the ongoing torment that follows. Not a pretty sight. But the scripture that comes next is: This means God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. (Rev 14:12) Living through the COVID pandemic was not persecution, but if we could not walk it out in faith and trust, how will we do when real persecution happens. No matter what we face this coming year; we need to walk patiently in obedience and maintain our faith in Jesus. He is still on the throne. We are still here to manifest His glory through how we endure hardships. It is not easy, but doable.
I for one, am thankful for the lessons I learned in 2020. I am grateful for His mercy and answered prayers. I feel the Holy Spirit is getting His people out of the hot house and into the field where we will be even more fruitful. Keep on looking to Him, my friends. He is the only one who has the words of eternal life. Let’s choose to put away childish behaviors and attitudes and simply walk patiently with Him, our Lord and Savior.