Thanks be to God

While we were in the U.S. and traveling to many different places, I saw this sign at a friend’s house, and I took a photo because it captured my attention and hit my heart pretty hard…

We can all agree that 2020 was a big, huge mess! It was a year of change, frustration, change, adapting, change, flexibility, change, disappointment, change, fear, and more change. One of the biggest realizations I had about myself pre-COVID, was how I thought I could control my life by planning. And while I would say, “God is really the one in control”, I would still plan and expect things to go how I want them to go. I would get frustrated when things didn’t go my way. And I still do this. But this past year has opened my eyes to realize that I can still plan, but it needs to be with flexibility and with the understanding that God is ultimately in control and my life is in His hands, not my own.

The verse James 4:13-16 comes to mind: “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.”

I find myself not even considering God’s plans but going on with my life as if it’s my own. I think that’s easy for all of us to do, but 2020 has reminded me that this world is not my home. People are divided, people are dying, people are hurting, people are angry. So what can we do in 2021? This year isn’t going to be our salvation. It’s not going to be the best year ever, when all things are great. I think many of us wish it would be, but in reality, there is still a lot of evil in this world and the fight isn’t going to be over until we go to our real home in Heaven. So what do we do?

I think a simple yet powerful reminder is to give thanks to God for what I have and trust in Him for what I need. He knows; I don’t. That’s the truth! So I reflect back on 2020 and think of the hardships, but I also think of the blessings. I think of the disappointments, but I also think of the many people I got to spend time with in true relationship.

Sometimes we have to look at a situation (or in this case 2020) and not only trust God in the hard times, but also look around and thank God for the blessings in the midst of the hard times. As you reflect on this past year, what were your good times and what were your bad times?

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