Death of a sports legend.
Celebrity sex scandals.
Record stock market fall.
2020 Olympics postponed.
Unemployment rates skyrocket.
Riots in the street.
Looting, vandalism, murder.
And that's just America.
And that's just the first six months.
The joke's been running on Facebook that we're ready for our mommas to follow through on their threats to slap us into next year. 2020 has been too much.
Too much unrest. Too much fear. Too much division. Too much hatefulness.
A year ago, I was writing a post about how rough a year 2019 had been so far. Little did I know what 2020 would hold, not only for our family (financial woes, relationship struggles, health concerns), but for our country and the world!
I'm ready to go back to 2019. I would say let's fast forward to 2021, but do we really want to risk a new year? Look what happened to the last one!
In all seriousness, times are hard. Our nation is broken. So much fighting and anger and blame. We've lost our ability to disagree and respect one another's differences. These days, if someone says something we don't like, we blow it up on social media until they've lost their job, received death threats, and have their reputation smeared across the country.
Really? Are we that childish that we can't just "agree to disagree" and walk away? Are we really so sensitive that we can't just let others' negative words and actions fall by the wayside? Do we really need the support of a million busy-body strangers on Facebook to avenge us from someone who was rude or mean?
In March, when the pandemic was starting to sweep across the nation and states were starting to close, I sensed a shift in the community. Even in our nation. We were all in this together. We were literally ALL experiencing the same troubles. Grounded at home, trying to get the basic necessities, and keeping our families and communities safe.
For a while, if not for the thousands falling ill and dying, it seemed something good could come out of something scary. This pandemic was drawing us together.
And then, it was tearing us apart. Everyone stood on this side of the line or that one. And there was no meeting in the middle. Insults were hurled. We laughed at others' fears or scorned their beliefs. We tore down our leaders.
It's sad. Through the last several months, this could have been a time of growth, a time of unity. And our country missed it. (To be fair, I know there were communities and neighborhoods who did experience unity during this time, so I don't want to pretend it NEVER happened!)
But through it all, I am SO glad to know that God holds us safely in His grip. These last few months, despite the growing unrest and hysteria, I had peace. Oh, I won't try to convince you that I never got concerned or nervous. But in the very deepest part of me, I rested in the assurance that none of this scared Him. None of it took God by surprise. He can handle it all. And He can see me through it.
Even when finances are a bit uncertain. Even when my Facebook friends have gotten spiteful. Even when the country's leaders are more interested in their own agenda than my well-being. Even when morals and ethics are being thrown out the window, while thieves and killers are being hailed as heroes.
God's got this. He's got me. And He's got you.
Do you have Him? Do you rest each night knowing that if you got COVID-19, you would be safe in His arms? Do you sit in your homes, petrified of the violence outside your window? Do you dread the coming election, hinging our country's survival (and yours) on the government leaders?
A local pastor likes to repeat in church, "Don't look to the left or to the right. Don't look down and DON'T look to government. But look up, for your redemption draweth nigh."
Followed by a hearty "Give JESUS a hand clap of praise!"
But it's true. I can rest at night, because I know I'm not relying on my state and national leaders to get everything night. I rise in the morning, because Jesus has His hand on me. I can shut out the noise and roar of the world, because my hope is in Jesus.
And if it happens that I do end up with a virus or job loss or property damage or terrorized by a murder hornet (yeah, there's that, too!), then I will still rest in His goodness and His care. Is it easy? Not always. Is it for the best? ALWAYS.
If you're living in fear, please, put your trust in Jesus. Let Him fill you so you have no room in your heart for fear. Fill your mind with His word.
As a wonderfully dear friend of mine used to say, "It'll be all right!"
And it will be. Because we are all safe....
In His Grip!