I’ve been wrestling with the idea of forgetting 2020.
We’ve all seen the social media memes about 2020 that make us laugh so we don’t cry. Maybe using our extra toilet paper stash to wipe away this last year and start over is a good idea?!
I laugh and nod in agreement with most of the jokes about this year. But as I do, the Holy Spirit whispers to my heart a tender message that I hope you and I will listen to: This year has not been a waste. Look for Me and My marvelous works.
Will we dismiss this year with all its gut-wrenching nuances, grief, and turmoil, or will we look for the miracles God has done? Will we be filled with joy because of who God is, or will we focus only on our tough circumstances?
Blaming 2020 and being ready to be done with this year is probably the most natural response we could have after all we have endured. Our experiences have each been so unique based on our health, family, the color of our skin, location, age, political stance, career, and even our expectations. We have all grieved, struggled with loneliness, felt angry and overwhelmed, been hopeless and just plain tired.
Unfortunately, our feelings and personal struggles, the global pandemic, racial injustices, and our nation’s political divide will not magically disappear when we turn the calendar to 2021.
But thanks be to God, there is hope! Not the sappy Hallmark Christmas movie kind or the “stick your head in the sand” kind but the kind of hope that King David knew:
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of YOU.
I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
Psalm 9:1-2 (NLT)
David did not write this psalm after a miracle or a victory. David chose these words in the middle of being attacked, exhausted from the enemy, and wondering if God has abandoned Him. Sounds familiar, right?
As we approach Christmas, I wonder if the year Jesus was born felt similar to 2020 for those living during that time. The Roman Empire was a worldwide tyrant, persecution was the norm based on beliefs, race, and culture, and a census had created upheaval with heavy taxes looming in the future. Not to mention the grief, frustration, and hopelessness each individual experienced.
But God sent angels to proclaim good news, long awaited prayers were answered, and Jesus came to save the world — all in the middle of a year that most probably wanted to move on from and try to forget.
The focus of that year could have been the hardships that preceded Jesus’ birth or the months that immediately followed with Herod’s deadly decree. But the focus was on Jesus and the beginning of His rescue plan.
The outcome of that difficult year a little over 2000 years ago should remind us that God never ignores our cries for help. We can trust Him with our afflictions and praise Him in the difficult middle and not just in our victory. God is always doing miracles, even in a year we would like to forget.
As we approach the celebration of Jesus’ arrival, let’s choose not to dismiss this difficult year but to look for God’s marvelous works in it. May we be honest with Him about the difficulty of this year and praise Him for all He has done.
Lord, thank you for the real hope of Christmas in the middle of this trying year. When times are especially hard, help us to remember what You’ve done and be filled with joy because of You.
In the comments, bring a gift of praise to Jesus. Share with us how you have seen God’s marvelous work in your life in 2020.
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Penny Cobb says
Our marriage was under attack, this time of sheltering in place has provided opportunities to heal and grow.
connie ker says
I became a widow in 2019, then the pandemic hit in 2020, and I am a high risk senior. The Bible verse that has helped me over and over is : Isaiah 54:5-6. Remember no more the repproach of your widowhood. For your maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is his name. He is called the God of All the earth.
The Christmas carol depicts this year: I Heard the Bells “In depair, I bowed my head, there is no peace on earth I said, for hate is strong, and mocks the song of Peace on Earth, goodwill to men. Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, God is not dead, nor doth He sleep, he wrong shall fail, the right prevail with Peace on Earth Goodwill to Men.
Maura Michael says
Connie, you are the definition of today’s reading. What an inspiration of joy in hard times. May you feel the love and comfort of our Lord. I’m giving you a heart hug
Beth Williams says
So sorry for the loss of your beloved friend & life mate. Asking God to comfort you & to be your eternal husband. May you find hope, & peace in the knowing that God isn’t dead, but instead working on our behalf. In the end we win. One day we will be in Heaven praising God & reunited with our loved ones. Prayers for continued good health.
Carmen Becker says
Thank you Lord for keeping my family safe, healthy and loving. Lord we ask you to bless Salena with calm in her house. Guide Vivianna to a better sleeping schedule. 2020 brings HOPE and GIFTS to 2021 … a new baby possibly. We thank you Lord for your mercy.
God be with us in remembering the reason for this season. Waiting in anticipation …
Maura Michael says
Connie, you are the definition of today’s reading. You are an inspiration for finding joy in hardship. May you feel the presence of God’s love and peace surrounding you. I give you a heart hug
Maura Michael says
Oops meant to leave that comment for Connie. But God bless you and your family also.
Vicki H. says
So many are talking about this awful year but I’ve had a check in my heart that seemed like that was saying the Lord messed up. Thankful you wrote, “the Holy Spirit whispers to my heart a tender message that I hope you and I will listen to: This year has not been a waste. Look for Me and My marvelous works.” Yes! And amen!
After 13 long years of grieving over a prodigal child, in Jan is 2020 he agreed to a 9 mo long rehab stay for drug addiction. So 2020 was the year we welcomed our son back from the depths of hell! It is truly a miracle of God!!!
Sue Ewan says
The beauty of snow in the mountains…
Jesus has brought peace to my heart and my home during this year of anxiety, when I take the time to receive it. He is an ever present help in times of trouble. I love how He can still surprise us with joy in the difficult middle, just like He did when we came to earth the first time.
Lisa Jordan says
I love this reminder–David chose these words in the middle of being attacked, exhausted from the enemy, and wondering if God has abandoned Him.
In the midst of sheltering in place, I had more focused time to dig deeper into the Word.
So many in this world think that 2020 was the worst year there has ever been. I beg to differ. This year has brought me closer to Him through His Word, because I had more time to spend in It letting It settle inside of me and letting It continue to challenge me to be ever more like Jesus. Yes, I could have filled all that time with Netflix, baking, FaceTiming, crafts, being in nature, exercising, and so many other things, and I did, but His Spirit continued to guide me to draw nearer to Him. He is my sustainer; my good, good Father; my everlasting peace; my creator; my guide; my protector; my shield and sword; my calm in the chaos, my defender; my light in the darkness; my armor; my Lord God Almighty; my Messiah; my King of Kings and Lord of Lords; the One Who holds me in His hand; the One Who leads me beside still waters; the One Who calls me beloved daughter and child; my Holy Spirit Who lives within me; and finally, my All in All. Without Him, I am nothing. So, 2020, what you meant for bad, I used for good. For all those who have lost a loved one; gotten terribly sick from COVID; have lost your job and struggled financially; have been in a deep, dark depression; feel lost and abandoned, He is calling you closer to Him. Our good, good Father wants us to abide in Him, so that He can abide in us. What other gift could we ask for than this? I believe He has used COVID to draw believers ever nearer to Him, has taken away the things of this world that had a hold on us, and asked us to look to Him rather than to the things or people around us. They cannot complete us, BUT HE CAN!!!! Oh, that we would see, hear, think, and feel Him move in our lives like never before. We were made to glorify Him in this dark, despairing world. We are the light just as Jesus came to be the light in the darkness. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Him and ask Him to lead us from now on to tell others of Him and the Gospel. Let it ever be on our lips ❤️
Kelly, thank you for such beautiful, positive and uplifting comments!
Beth Williams says
You spoke my heart exactly. What man intended for harm God used for good. He used to Covid to bring people back to each other. No more could we just run from activity to activity. We were told to shelter in & be with family. I firmly believe people & families reconnected & actually talked face to face. There was more time for family Bible studies & just getting to know each other better.
Amy Harper says
The year has been really hard for my family without the threat of Covid. I can look back though and see how everything slowing down was a blessing. In April my daughter tried to commit suicide after being bullied in school for about three years. We were in the process of getting her help when Covid amped up her dispair. We had to put her in the hospital for an inpatient program. She is well now and still in therapy. I can look back and see how God kept her safe until we could get her to people who could help her.
In May my husband lost his job. God provided for us all this time. My husband just started a new job this week!
Also in May my husband got diagnosed with Colon Cancer in a routine Colonoscopy. By the end of the week my husband was able to have surgery to get the Cancer out since surgeons couldn’t do surgery unless it was of high importance. They got it all with clear margins. It was found early also so his Oncologist said no chemo was needed. All his check ups have gone well.
This year I have held on to God’s promises to not forsake us. God has been so faithful this year. I am so thankful that things turned out the way they did in the end. I am so thankful for my family and friends that were there for us too.
Beth Williams says
God has been showing you that He is still in the miracle business. When all seems gloomy & you tend to despair He shows up & sends little touches of His healing, love & caring to you. Reminding you that He sees everything & is working on our behalf ALL the time. May God continue to bless you & your family.
Nadine Ituze says
This year had started well for me, had accepted Jesus as my Lord and savior in Dec 2019, got baptized … I was on the zeal for the Lord, spent most of covid time in the word. The Lord has done so many wonderful things during this time.. Even though i am struggling to recognize His goodness now because immediately after i entered for what is known to be a wilderness season.. But let me take this opportunity to thank Him for His protection and provision for my family, He remains faithful even when we are faithless because He cannot change Himself. Father i thank you for all the good and the bad that this year has brought into my life.. And i never want to live a life where you are not there. Help me to trust in you even when i don’t see you working. Amen
Nancy Ruegg says
Thank you for your beautiful and uplifting comments, Kelly. I, too, have enjoyed extra-long quiet times with our Father, since there’s no place I need to be!
Nancy Ruegg says
God has manifested himself by keeping me smiling through 2020 by: 1) virtual contacts with family and friends, 2) delightful visits from birds and animals in our own backyard (deer, fox, woodchuck, chipmunks, and the circus squirrels that perform daring jumps through the trees)–such fun to watch! 3) more time on the deck to revel in His seasons, especially noting the changes from one to the next, and 4) our women’s Bible study that’s been able to continue on Zoom. No miracles here, perhaps, but sweet blessings just the same.
Thank You God for blessing me with a promotion this year at work! Thank You for the time we have spent together and for the extra time spent with my family! Thank You for helping me through many fearful and anxious moments. You are in control! I praise You my Savior Jesus! In Jesus’ Name, amen!
Dottie Cardoza says
My son and his wife had their first baby this summer. That is a wonderful blessing! They also lost him 46 days later. Horrific grief. But I want to praise God for the birth of the sweet and unique little boy that He gave us. I have 8 other grandchildren, and he was totally different. They are all blonde and he has red hair. He was bigger than any of the others when born, even though he was born with a genetic diaphragmatic hernia and was only given a 20% survival rate. He died. But he was here!!! And he lived for those 46 days! His parents got to see him and spend time with him and hold his sweet baby hand and sing to him and look into his beautiful eyes! They never got to hear his voice, he was never able to breathe on his own, but he was alive and they got to experience being new parents. Praise God for those things!!!
I’m deeply sorry for your loss and heartache.
Blessings to you and your family…
Dottie Cardoza says
Beth Williams says
So sorry for the loss of the beloved baby. May God continue to comfort you & the family. I pray you sense God’s loving arms surrounding you with hugs from heaven. Thank you for staying positive when you could have fallen into despair. Asking God to watch over you all & keep you healthy-mentally, physically & emotionally.
Dottie Cardoza says
Thank-you for your beautiful message of God’s faithful love for us. For each and every miracle He has performed through out it all, I am truly grateful not only for His, grace, mercy, love, generosity, and kindness but also to those He has blessed our family with.
Blessings, peace, love, joy and comfort to you all,
2020 has been a struggle. Especially as a family of 3 small business owners!! But, in the midst of all the loss and turmoil, God has been there!!! First with my parents horrific car accident. Which witnesses reported “we don’t know how they survived”. Which lead us to finding my dad had lung cancer early. My dad will tell you God healed his pain from the accident in the life flight helicopter ride to the hospital, where they did a CT scan that revealed the cancer, but no other injuries!!! Miraculous!! He went through surgery with flying colors, again, Praising God. In November both of my parents got covid!! It took about 5 weeks to recover, and again, by the grace of God they are both ok. Yes, I want this year to be over as much as anyone else. But I am looking hard to see everywhere God has been in this difficult season!!! We ask for continued favor and healing as we enter 2021!! In Jesus name, Amen!!!
Beth Williams says
Over the past few months I have prayed that 2020 be over & 2021 come. Looking back it can be hard to see God working amidst all the turmoil & civil unrest. Adding to that we lost a beloved pet this year & are dealing with Covid at hospitals. The blessings do abound. God has seen fit to give us a vaccine & hubby got to take his Saturday (12/19). I’ve been blessed to go to my in-laws church. Gotten involved in helping feed men in an addiction recovery program that otherwise would be in jail. He has sent me two good songs for Christmas “Leaving Heaven” by Matthew West & “It’s About the Cross” by Go Fish. I’ve also been watching Steve Furtick of Elevation church on tv. There is a chill in the air & I can look at the beautiful mountains. We have hope. A hope that doesn’t disappoint. God is in control of this universe & in the end we win.
Anna Crandell says
Thanking God for allowing all of my family to continue working during the pandemic and good health. We all work in public venues and have remained covid free thanks be to God!
Jennifer Haynie says
Let me count the ways. We have our jobs. My job has finally been defined. God healed me of my anxiety and grew me through it. A new grandbaby arrived in our small group 10 weeks early but with few complications. She’s in the NICU but thriving. A friend’s son came to faith in Jesus after 8 years of prayer and has restored his relationship with his family.
Martha Troxel says
Jesus has protected me from COVID-19 and from a really bad windstorm in August. He has provided for me. He has encouraged me. It has been a tough year, but Jesus has been with me every moment.
Kimberly Gravley says
A friend at work wants to hear more about Jesus!
Anne B says
This post is helping change my thoughts on being done with 2020. While I am definitely over all the bad there has been some great blessings from God. Time of rest, lots of reading, some great bible studies with a couple friends and my sister-in-law getting baptized less than a week before unexpectedly passing away. While this Christmas looks and feels different God is good all the time and will love us through. Have a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful start to the New Year!
Carole Tapin says
I praise God for His help in 2020, for His provision in a very difficult year, for His guidance when His direction was not easy to understand and discern. I thank Him for His powerful hand of protection and for the renewed faithfulness I can have in His trusted written and spoken Word.