You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again. (Psalm 71:20-21 ESV)
Lord, what an “unsettling” year 2020 has been, but those of us who remain are blessed more than we know, so we ought to be thankful! God, we know that You will not give us more than we can handle, but in so many ways, 2020 seemed to “light up the map” brighter than ever in so many tragic ways.
However, the Word informs us in more ways than one that our lives are not going to be “flowery beds of ease,” but He will deliver us from our troubles in His time. Psalm 9:9-10 (ESV) declares, “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” Further, the Word affirms in a portion of Isaiah 60:22 (NLT), “…At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.”
Therefore, given all that we have endured in 2020, Lord, we’re claiming a greater year in 2021 in the mighty name of Jesus Christ!
Some of the most tragic and unsettling events of this past year have been as follows: the deaths of basketball icon Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, along with seven others in a horrific helicopter crash; the Stock Market crash, the televised brutal killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer that sparked worldwide protest against police brutality; “murder hornets” arriving in the United States; the death of prolific actor Chadwick Boseman; Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death; the West Coast wildfires; and last, but most definitely not the least, the Covid-19 pandemic that has resulted in more than 300,000 deaths alone in the United States.
Even through these and many other trying times, God is still in control, and He will always be worthy to be praised, for He has been good to us in so many ways! Let us also remember that God gives us warnings before destruction, for it states in Ezekiel 3:17-19 (KJV): “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore, hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”
Claiming a greater year in 2021 comes with responsibilities on our part. In II Chronicles 7:13-14 (KJV), the Lord said, “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
As I bring this message to a close, I leave with you a special reading to ponder as 2021 arrives, “I Am the New Year” (Bible Illustrator).
“I am the new year. I am an unspoiled page in your book of time. I am your next chance at the art of living. I am your opportunity to practice what you have learned about life during the last 12 months. All that you sought and didn’t find is hidden in me, waiting for you to search it but with more determination. All the good that you tried for and didn’t achieve is mine to grant when you have fewer conflicting desires. All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do, all that you hoped but did not will, all the faith that you claimed but did not have — these slumber lightly, waiting to be awakened by the touch of a strong purpose. I am your opportunity to renew your allegiance to Him who said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’”
Claiming a bountifully blessed New Year for all! Have a wonderfully blessed week, be thankful in all circumstances, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)