Today is the last day of another year. And this year…….2020……is a good year to say good-bye to! Who could possibly be sad to say good-bye to this year?!?! Well, now that I think about, the moms and dads who lost a child in 2020 will be. I remember New Year’s Eve night in 2014, just a couple of months after our middle son passed away at 25 years of age, feeling like I was going to die of sadness. My husband, our youngest daughter and I were watching the celebration in Time’s Square on TV when I turned to our daughter and asked her if she was feeling like I was, to which she replied “yes”. When I asked her why she thought we were feeling so sad that particular night, she responded with one of her wise-beyond-her-years answers: “It feels like we are leaving him behind in the last year, the year he died.” That was it. It felt like we were leaving him behind, and we all (the rest of our family) were moving into a new year without him. Of course, New Year’s Day is just another day on the calendar. But try telling your feelings that when you are deep in the trenches of shock, disbelief and sorrow beyond measure.
But let me bring myself back into the present day.
As we say good-bye to 2020, I think we are all going to breathe a sigh of relief accompanied, unfortunately, by a lingering twinge of trepidation that 2021 might not be much better.
Were any of us really even aware of what a global pandemic was before the beginning of 2020? And who would have dreamed that we would all be required to wear a face mask before we would be allowed to enter any public building before the beginning of this crazy year?
And dare I mention the politics going on here in America? I was aware that we were heading into an election year that would probably get rather ugly before the beginning of 2020, but of my! What an election year it has turned out to be! “Ugly” doesn’t even really begin to describe the year we have had in politics.
And what about those “peaceful protests” that looked a whole lot more like rioting and looting to me? People burning down cities, pulling down historic statues and hurting or killing fellow human beings. What was all that about, anyway? Does anyone really even know, besides the people inciting the riots? I’m not sure about any of this. But it greatly saddens and discourages me. It makes me question who we are as individuals, as a people, as a nation and a planet.
All of this makes me glad to say good-bye to the year 2020.
But as I mentioned above, I’m not sure tomorrow is going to look any different than today, or the past 364 days. It might be better. But it has the potential of being the same or worse, as well.
So where I am heading with all this talk of doom and gloom?
Where else can I go, but to the Lord and His Word?
A particular scripture passage in Philippians has been on my heart for most of this past year. It is a passage we all know quite well, but is maybe more applicable this year than ever before in our lifetimes. Philippians 4:6-8:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
Be anxious for nothing.
Be anxious for nothing.
Be anxious for nothing.
In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Prayer – a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God.
Supplication – the action of asking or begging for something earnestly and humbly.
Thanksgiving – a key component to avoiding anxiety, in my experience.
Let your requests be made known to God.
Isn’t it amazing that God wants us to come to Him and tell Him our requests?
And then the most amazing thing happens –
The peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
And what does the last part of this passage have to do with anything?
We have to focus our thoughts on the things God tells us to focus our thoughts on –
Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and of good repute (reputation).
And the only thing (person) I know of that fits every one of these descriptions is Jesus.
Focus on Jesus in the year 2021and we will have peace in our hearts and minds. I know this sounds super simplistic, but give it a try. Every day. Not just for a day or two and then decide it didn’t really work! “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth.” Colossians 3:2
I would be remiss if I didn’t include the short, but powerful command in the verse just before the above quote – Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”
Another key to avoiding anxiety is to rejoice in the Lord; or, in other words (my words) find your joy in Him and Him alone.
Finally, verse 5: “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.” Amen!
I love Charles Spurgeon quotes and came across the following one regarding New Year’s Resolutions (which I am opposed to!). It sheds light on the most important thing, in my opinion – to believe in and trust in God.
“If this New Year shall be full of unbelief, it will be sure to be dark and dreary. If it be baptized into faith, it will be saturated with benediction. If we will believe our God as he deserves to be believed, our way will run along the still waters, and our rest will be in green pastures. Trusting in the Lord, we shall be prepared for trials, and shall even welcome them as black ships laden with bright treasures.”
Have a happy, healthy and faith-full new year!