In the midst of the gloom and doom, with yet another COVID-19 lockdown on the horizon, I saw this sign in front of a local church recently, and it made me laugh:
“We need to UNINSTALL 2020… It has a VIRUS!”
The sign gave me hours of lighthearted reflection, and when I shared it with friends and family, it brought long-absent smiles to their faces as well. When we think back to the beginning of 2020, who could have envisioned that this year would bring about so much hardship? Most of us were still reeling from the trouble of 2019, and our only hope was that 2020 would be better. Now, in retrospect, my personal problems of 2019 seem pretty trite in light of what 2020 actually brought.
Yup! Let’s uninstall 2020! It has a terrible virus, and we don’t want it anymore!
As I contemplated this, however, something struck me as very wrong about the thought. Basically, this says that 2020 was all wrong, yet we know that God is in charge of History (See Prov. 21:1, Romans 13:1) We also know that hard times are predicted in the Bible, and these hard times are signs of the end, of Jesus’ return (See Matt. 24, Revelation 6).
With the troubles of 2020 so vividly portrayed in Biblical prophecy, and with our understanding that God is in charge, isn’t our desire to uninstall 2020 basically saying that God’s attention must have strayed when the Heavenly plans for 2020 were presented to Him for His final stamp of approval?
As I reflect back over 2020, my thoughts can’t help but focus on all the trouble this year brought. The pandemic, yes, but also the political unrest, the coups, the demonstrations, to say nothing of the blatant racism brought out in the open, the famines, the world financial difficulties, the earthquakes, migrant deaths, etc. Why, God? Why did we have to walk this dark path?
It was in the midst of such a “poor us” kind of reflection that God showed me something. I stood on the edge of a cliff looking out over a beautiful valley below. All appeared calm as a vibrant blue ribbon of water wound its way through the dark green-blue patches of evergreens, past the brilliant multi-colors of flowered meadows, meandering by golden fields and through the brilliant light and medium greens of broadleaf forests…
It wasn’t the first time He showed me this little “vision”, but it was the first time I understood it. I realized then that God was allowing me to see the “big” picture. We are in the midst of the densest of the forests in that valley and our vision is so clouded by the thickest parts of the trees and brush that we can’t even remember what a meadow looks like. Yet God included this dark time because from His perspective, He knew what we needed to make a beautiful picture in the end. And truly, the dark, dense forest we find ourselves in will come to an end, will give way to the beautiful meadows and fields.
It was a comforting thought, but God, why do we have to endure these dark times?
As I contemplated this, it occurred to me that I was focusing only on the bad parts of 2020. But hey, in all fairness to us, there weren’t any good times in 2020! What with…
God wouldn’t let me go any further with this line of thought. Instead, He began putting into my mind little things that 2020 had brought about. He reminded me of the multiple spiritual lessons I was learning throughout COVID-19. He reminded me that it was much easier now for me to relinquish control, to live one day at a time. He reminded me that throughout this year, my heart has begun to shift from the usual focus on myself and my own needs. I was beginning to have more feelings for the needs of others. He then reminded me that the majority of the world is beginning to think about keeping others safe instead of only focusing on themselves. He reminded me that families were spending more time together, that people were spending more time in nature…
I could go on, but you get the idea. These tiny, little changes are indeed, changes for the better. I know for one that learning to relinquish a bit of control, learning to live for today and stop worrying about tomorrow, learning to think of others first… These things have all resulted in me being a lot happier than I used to be! Could God have gotten through to me in any other way? Probably, He is, after all, God, and He knows how to seek our hearts. But I’m pretty thick-headed, so I seriously believe any other way might have included even more pain!
No, I don’t want to go through another 2020 any more than any of you do. But let’s not deny what God HAS been doing through this time! And as 2021 rolls around with all of its unknowns, let’s remember: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV). God is in control of history, and He’s preparing a beautiful masterpiece. We just have to look beyond the current “dark forest” to see it, and when we can’t seem to catch that glimpse, we need to trust that God knows what He’s doing!
Let’s resolve to make this our focus this year, no matter what may come, good or bad. Let’s resolve to live one day at a time and trust God with the future. Let’s determine to believe that God is in control and will work all things for our good!
Uninstall 2020? Not on my watch!
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two adult boys, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, The Illustrator, a four-times-a-week internet newsletter, and the Sermon Illustrator website, all with Answers2Prayer Ministries.