2020. Most of us would prefer not to re-live a year like this.
For the first time in our lives, we experienced our world coming to a screeching halt. Our schedules changing, jobs being taken away, large amounts of time spent away from loved ones or for some of us saying goodbye to a loved one. Racism exposed. Political unrest.
Perhaps some of us had a relatively normal year, but for the vast majority of us, 2020 was nothing but normal. It was a year we didn’t expect and when it came at us like a wrecking ball, most of us didn’t know how to handle such chaos.
With a new year approaching, we can only hope for a different year. Hope that this coming year of 2021 will be better than 2020.
We seemed to just survive with our heads barely above water in 2020– how can we start off 2021 stronger?
It’s easy to be hopeful and say the words that we want to start off strong, but what if our circumstances don’t change in 2021. Even more, what if absolutely nothing about the world pandemic and chaos we are living in doesn’t change in 2021?
What if 2021 is the identical twin to 2020, or perhaps the evil twin? In other words, how will you choose to live in 2021 if we are still living in the midst of chaos?
Turning “What If” into “Even If”
During this time, King Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image that was “90 feet high and 9 feet wide” (Daniel 3:1) and commanded that everyone in town must bow to the statue and worship it whenever the music played. Anyone who refused to worship the image would be thrown into a blazing fire.
These three men refused to worship the statue because they only worship God. So, Nebuchadnezzar commanded that they be thrown into the fiery furnace, heated seven times hotter than normal.
The three men responded in Daniel 3:18saying they believe their God would rescue them and fix their situation, “but EVEN IF He does not [rescue us], we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
God did rescue them that day. But can you imagine the trust these three men had to have in God?
They could have moaned and complained and worried with all the what-ifs in the world. But they turned their what if into an even if.
Those are two very powerful words.
It’s knowing and believing in God, trusting Him in every situation in 2021 even if He doesn’t change the chaotic circumstances we are living in. It’s saying to yourself:
I know God can find our family a job, but even if He doesn’t…
I know God can remove the coronavirus, but even if He doesn’t…
I know that God can heal my broken marriage, but even if He doesn’t…
Let’s have the faith that these three young men had. That no matter what we face in 2021, all the unknowns, all the what-ifs, that we know our God is faithful and we know He is sovereign.
The we know He can answer all our prayers, but EVEN IF He doesn’t, we will still worship and trust in Him and Him alone.
The Most Beautiful Things Can Come from the Most Chaotic Circumstances
One of the most beautiful life changing events to ever happen to us as believers happened during a culturally chaotic time. Did you know Jesus was born in the midst of chaos?
An angel appeared to a virgin named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph (Luke 1:26-38). Talk about a scandal that would have made for some good reality TV.
Furthermore, Caesar Augustus was at the helm of the Roman Empire proclaiming himself to be God. In the year Jesus was born, there was violence, chaos, political and social unrest. It was dark.null
But at just the right time, when the world was dark, light was brought into our world. Jesus stepped into the chaos and brought peace. Fast forward to this year ending 2020, and coming into 2021, we are experiencing similar things.
I am hopeful of 2021, but for those who feel the world is dark, remember that even in the darkest of times, light will, and has stepped in. In our chaos, He is there.
In our darkest time, He is there. He brings light, and we can stay close to that light by staying close to Him through His word. For “His word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light to our path” (Psalm 119:105).
His word sheds just enough light as a lamp to guide us one step at a time. We must remain in His word and allow His light to guide us through the dark times.
Going through chaos sure doesn’t feel good, nor at times, does it look good, but remember, God Himself is good. Beautiful things can be birthed in the darkest chaotic seasons. Trust that He has a purpose and He wants to birth someone beautiful out of this chaos.
As we approach 2021 in the midst of our current chaos, let’s look at 3 ways we can stay strong as we head into the New Year:
1. Live with a Kingdom Perspective
To start the year 2021 off strong, we must change our perspective from the one we may have lived with in 2020. We must learn to adopt a Kingdom perspective.
Having a Kingdom perspective is found in WHO you are believing in not in WHAT you are believing in.
Are you believing in the news, or our government, or a vaccine right now? Or are you believing in the Maker of it all and standing on the promise of who He is?
Remember, God never changes, even though the world around us does. He is the “same yesterday, today, and tomorrow” (Hebrews 13:8).
2. Fix Your Focus
Many of us have at some point most likely focused on all the wrong things in 2020. We have spent too much time focusing on the news with the latest on the pandemic, riots, or political headlines.
To start 2021 off strong, we must fix and adjust our focus.
Make a list of all the things you focused on as your top things in 2020. Were they focused on things above or things of this world?null
As Colossians 3:1 teaches us to “set your mind on things above, not on things of this world.”
3. Build Your Life Planted in the Lord
Jeremiah 17: 7-8 says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
Walking with the Lord doesn’t make us exempt from chaos. But we have a source where we can bear fruit during any season.
We have no idea what 2021 will look like, but one thing we know is that we can put our hope and trust in the Lord being anxious for nothing, and still bear fruit and receive His blessings.
To start 2021 strong, let’s plant ourselves in the Lord, abiding in His word, so that if a fire, drought, or more chaos continues, we will not fear, nor will we cease from yielding God-bearing fruit.
Let’s Look ahead in 2021
Let’s put 2020 behind us and look ahead. As Philippians 3:13 says to “forget what is behind and press on reaching forward to those things which are ahead..”
Let’s start 2021 strong by adopting a Kingdom perspective by fixing our focus on the Lord, the One in whom we can trust.
As we build our life firmly planted in Him, we can start 2021 strong despite the chaos around us.
Thank you Lord, that although the world around is full of unknowns, you are an unshakeable unchangeable God.