Now before you start wondering if I’ve fallen and hit my head or if I was living in a different universe than you were in 2020, let me explain the title of today’s message. It was inspired by our first sermon of 2021, also entitled 2020 as a win. At first I thought it was crazy too, but it gave me a new perspective. No question 2020 was a difficult year for a lot of people and most everyone, myself included, certainly had their share of challenges. But as I looked back on 2020 with a different lens I was able to see that it wasn’t all bad.
If you will be honest in your assessment of the year, I’m willing to bet that 2020 revealed things to you or about you – good and not so good – that you likely wouldn’t have noticed had the year not played out the way it did. For many, it was a year that forced us to examine our ability to self direct as we moved to virtual workplaces. For others, it was a year of spending a lot more time with our families than we were accustomed to and may have revealed our lack of patience or less than stellar communication skills with our spouse or children. Still others were forced to address their financial situations or spending habits as jobs were lost or hours reduced. Or maybe you had to figure out the art of time management to complete your work, run your household and become overnight home school teacher. But what if instead of looking at all of these as challenges or obstacles or setbacks, we were able to see them as opportunities from God to be better in 2021?
There’s also a lot of perspective in the way we look at a situation or year in hindsight. While living in the midst of 2020 there were many times I thought ‘you have got to be kidding me??’, as I look back and take stock of the year, there were so many things to be grateful for and many occasions where I now see the hand of God was at work. We have maintained our health throughout the pandemic, even in the midst of working jobs that brought us into contact with a large number of people. The broader acceptance of remote work allowed us the opportunity to follow the nudge we felt from God to move across the country without the need to leave my current job. The move brought us new job opportunities and new friends that we know have been put in our path for a reason. And we are now living in a place that restores our souls daily. Why? I’m not yet sure, but I am sure He knows and in His time, the path before us will become clearer and the next chapter will be revealed. Until then, I trust the next chapter because I know the author of my story and His promises to me.
So this week, as we roll into 2021 and the hope of a ‘better’ year, take a minute to reflect on 2020. Acknowledge all the hard things, give yourself a moment to grieve things that were lost or that might have been but weren’t and take a deep breath. Then, take a moment to be grateful for the good things that happened – the extra time with your kids/spouse/parents, the new passion the time at home revealed to you, the reclaiming of something you loved to do but never had the time to do. And remind yourself of the places where God was working in the background and remind yourself that your story is far from over.