2020-Hindsight for Hope in the New Year
Twenty-twenty Hindsight–(n.) seeing clearly, with full understanding, a situation or event only after it has happened.
2020–a really, really hard year; a thing of the past.
One can only have twenty-twenty hindsight once he or she has stepped into a new situation. Like stepping over the threshold of a new year, for example.
And that’s where we all stand today. Not one is left behind–no matter how weary, wounded or bewildered she may be. No matter how frustrated, fearful or fettered he might feel. Each has taken a first step into the new year, leaving behind the last 365 days.
Today we look upon 2020 as a thing of the past, and we can look forward, hopefully choosing to apply what the last year taught us. Perhaps the lessons we’ve gleaned will better enable and equip us for the coming days, even if they hold their own reasons for feeling fearful and frustrated. Yes, even if they don’t prove to be much better or safer than those we now see in the rearview mirror.
Having 2020-hindsight helps us see ahead more clearly, but even more than any lesson learned, we have the light of God’s Word to guide us into the coming unknowns–with a plethora of passages speaking peace to any chaos, joy to despair. Coupling the lessons 2020 taught us with timeless biblical promises will serve as an anchor to hold us, as well as a sword to save us, as we step into this mysterious new year.
First, 2020 taught us that things don’t always turn out as we planned.
Many of us made lists–wrote out our resolutions–at the beginning of the year. Perhaps we chose a particular word symbolizing a goal. It stood for something for which we set our sights, at which we aimed.
Then, come mid-March, the world for many of us changed, almost on a dime. Restrictions were set in place that caused schools and businesses to close, bringing students and employees home. Hospitals filled up as COVID-19 spread–a pandemic that many hadn’t heard about prior to January. One couldn’t turn on the news without seeing its effects, hearing of its spread, and fear began to fester. Frustration, too, as schedules changed, plans coming to a screeching halt.
Though we live in a fallen world where things are not as God intended, He’s still in control, and nothing in 2020 surprised Him. His promise which offers peace, gives hope, even when plans change–
For I know the plans I have for you … plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
Applying this truth and holding tightly to it enables us to walk confidently and courageously into the coming days.
Second, 2020-hindsight teaches us that, even in the worst of situations, we can bloom where we’re planted.
Despite the changes to our plans–with children suddenly home and many having to work remotely, with cancelled vacations and the adjustments to a new normal that, for most, felt anything but normal–there’s story after story of those who discovered blessing despite hardship, made the most of difficult situations and blossomed beautifully–individually and as families–even in the midst of a pandemic.
We didn’t likely hear about such on most morning or evening news programs. These stories were more apt to surface first in surprising places–on social media sites, for example, where benevolence was extended with the establishment of assistance programs, as well as in personal testimonies shared. Such stories often spread like wildfire–people desperate for, grasping for, some semblance of good news.
Simple things, like making and distributing masks. Stepping up to tutor students struggling to learn from home. Musical ensembles, both professional and amateur, caught on camera singing or playing melodic messages of cheer. Many of these went viral–those hungry for hope holding on to each note or lyric before sharing with others who, like themselves, were starved for what felt something like personal contact, that which brought peace simply because it proclaimed,
You’re not alone.
And truth is, we can bloom where we’re planted because we never are alone. Just as a seed left in a vacuum–with no soil, sun, water, or food source–will never burst to life, so we too. But even during this pandemic, even in the most isolating of situations, one is never truly alone. Whether or not one chooses to recognize the presence of the Lord, He is there.
His promise which enables one to bloom, even in bleak situations–
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy … they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God … Be strong and do not fear; your God will come … he will come to save you (from Isaiah 35).
This truth, held in one’s heart, enables him to grow–bloom even!–in the most lonely, sad, or scary times. Holding to this good word offers her hope, peace, and courage that she might forge forward in the new year.
Finally, hindsight 20/20 reminds believers that our hope comes from God alone.
There was very little we could do as a society to keep COVID-19 at bay, though there are things one can do now to help slow its spread. It happened to us, and we’ve been left floundering in the wake of this virus’s storm. Many lost loved ones in 2020. Many have suffered sickness themselves. And sadly, many will likely still suffer in the coming days.
Such truth is scary, and fear is the great thief of peace. Lack of peace likely results in lack of rest, and lack of rest leaves one vulnerable to all sorts of negative bodily effects–physically, emotionally, and mentally.
How does one rest, then, with so many unknowns still looming in the new year, with 2020 our example?
Just as God has promised a good plan for our lives and just as He’s promised to always be with us–to never leave us, nor forsake us (Deut. 31:6)–He reminds us that our rest comes only by abiding in–trusting in–Him alone.
No matter what the coming days bring, His Word speaks to our weary, wounded, worried hearts–
Yes, my soul, find rest in God alone; my hope comes from Him (Psalm 62:5).
Our hope comes from Him, no matter our disrupted plans, no matter how isolated we may feel.
We can still trust His plan for our lives.
We can bloom right where we’re planted in the coming twelve months.
And we can rest with hope, knowing He is with us–always, no matter what.
Happy New Year, dear friends. Let’s walk together–with peace, with courage, and with hope–and see what God has for us in the coming days, learning from 2020-hindsight.
Dear Jesus, thank you for always being with us. Thank you for the promises discovered in Your Word. Help them be our anchor in any storm, our sword–our weapon–in every battle. We know there are no mysteries to you, and we ask that you, wonderful Waymaker, enable and equip us to be light in the darkness.
So be it.
(I encourage you to click on any highlighted word(s) for more encouragement in the coming year!)