Ready or Not, Here We Come!

In just a few days, a new year will begin. Most all of us will bid 2020 good riddance! It's been a less-than-stellar year, to completely understate it.

Between the COVID-19 pandemic, the contentious national election, quarantines, lock-downs, business closings, and having to social distance (including the wearing of face coverings), many of us are living with grief, frustration, anger, and even some depression and despair.

Someone mentioned to me the other day that 2021 just has to be better than 2020 was. We can all hope for that to be true, but there are no guarantees. There will certainly be significant challenges left over from 2020 and who knows what surprises 2021 will bring?

One of the ways we process what might be coming in the future is to look back at the past. Significant events and dates mark periods of time, and frame possibilities for the future.

Some significant events are positive: in 1971 Shirley and I were married; in 1982 our twins were born; in 1974 I graduated college, in 1977 I graduated seminary, and in 1978 I was ordained to ministry in the United Methodist Church. In 2002 I was appointed to the amazing congregation I currently serve.

Some significant events are negative: in 1963 President John F Kennedy was assassinated, in 1986 the Challenger space shuttle exploded on takeoff, in 2001 the World Trade Center was destroyed and the Pentagon attacked, in 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world.

Looking back at 2020 and beyond, I can see challenges even in the most positive events and God working for good even in the most negative ones. The pandemic may have shut down in-person worship for weeks, but the reach of our church was actually extended by live-streaming our worship services. Politics may be becoming more and more negative and contentious in our nation, but God is still on His throne, no matter who is President of the United States. And as challenging as 2020 has been for all of us, we became grandparents in July!

Whatever comes in 2021, God is already ahead of us, preparing things and preparing us for what we will face: successes or failures, good or bad. I hold on to one of the most comforting truths of Scripture as the new year dawns:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

Followers of Jesus have faced plagues, persecution, martyrdom, and more. Whatever we face in 2021, God will be with us! Jesus never fails! The Holy Spirit will give us the power to live in victory.

Ready or not, 2021, here we come! We will serve God and honor Jesus whatever comes. All glory and honor to the God who holds us in His almighty hands!

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