As the year 2020 comes to a close, what’s the most important question we can ask ourselves?
Every year-end, it’s normal for us to look back on what happened since January. We don’t just count days spent in quarantine, but we count the blessings that God has given us throughout the year.
2020 is not our usual year, but is there a reason for us to be thankful despite all the challenges that happened this 2020?
This episode is an invitation to look back on what we went through this year. We hope that as we look back, we will not just remember the hardships and challenges that we’ve gone through this year, but we will remember to be grateful because we have reached this far.
“Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
James 1:2-4 (ESV)
There are times that we tend to look at God from a different perspective because we feel stuck on what we experienced this year.
These experiences have become a part of us, and these, whether good or bad, have shaped us.
Usually we ask ourselves what we have accomplished this year, but in this episode, we are going to ask a better question: What have you become this 2020?
Dave: This season helped me to slow down, It helped me appreciate the things I used to have before, and what I have now: meeting with students, people, and family.
What I also realized is that, according to some scholars, Jesus lived for 30-34 years, and only did his ministry for 3 years. He was not in a rush for the past 30 years to start doing His ministry, but He did His ministry according to God’s perfect timing. This realization was a gentle rebuke for me to follow God’s leading in all areas.
Jello: This pandemic has forced me to take a slower pace in life. I get to appreciate the beauty of rest and trusting in God. We can slow down because God is doing things on our behalf.
12:11 This pandemic brought rest, work, productivity, and community to a whole new level. Sometimes we equate the effort that we put in our work with our identity. Because of certain restrictions, this year helped us assess where we are getting our identity. A good question to ask: Is my work defining me? Or is it just a description of me?
13:54 Amidst all of the things that we lost this year, it pays to realize that there are things that we have gained. These things that we have gained have eternal value, mas natutunan natin i-value ang relationships, since we don’t know until when we are going to spend time with them.
Before, we barely talked to people at home. Now, we are given an opportunity to talk with one another.
Before, social media was a source of addiction to many, but this year, we learned that social media can be redeemed for eternal purposes.
Also, despite the lockdown and changes in set-up, we have learned to fight for our relationship with God.
15:44 Last 2019, we were excited about 2020 because it speaks of positivity and clarity, like the 2020 vision, and because of that we claimed that everything will be made clear. But it turned out differently than we expected, especially our definition of “clarity.”
This year made clear what is important and what is not, and we learned along the way that relationships are the most important. God brought clarity by removing the things that we don’t need. Despite all the changes, we can still plan by faith because our hope is in God.
This year is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Our experiences in this pandemic will soon be stories told to our future children. God is shaking the things that are shakable so that only the unshakeable will remain (Hebrews 12:27). That’s why we can always hope and dream, because we can trust God’s heart and plans for us.
19:40 If you experienced great grief this year, it’s understandable that it’s difficult to be thankful for what happened this year. It’s okay to feel that way. That is a normal response to pain and suffering. Pain is an indication that we are not meant for death, but for eternal life. It’s painful, but we hold on to the truth that God makes all things beautiful in His time and our hope is that He will right all the wrongs that happened this year.
Whatever season or situation you may be in, there is still hope. We can all look forward to this hope because this will all come to pass. This is not the ending that God has promised for us.
21:12 You can bring whatever state you are in to God and to the next year: your brokenness, pain, and sufferings, because your hope is in God. You can be raw and real to Him.
We can come as we are before God and to 2021 because our identity and status are not based on the turn of the calendar, but on what God is doing in our lives.
2020 is not a wasted year, it may look like that if we base it on our plans and goals, but when we look at the grander scheme of things, God has accomplished so much in us.
Walang tapon kay Lord. Walang tapon sa lahat ng pain and hardship. All these things will contribute to our maturity and sanctification. It’s part of the process so that we can be more like Him.
23:42 This brings us to a question, Is there still a reason to hope?
Yes, you can still make plans, because even if they don’t push through, you are confident that your identity is intact in the Lord.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
You are free to make your plans, but the Lord will determine your steps. You can still hope and dream!
If there’s something that 2020 has taught us, it’s that God’s purpose will trump our plans, and His plan for us is good, pleasing, and perfect (Romans 12:2)!
As we face the new year, we can position ourselves at the center of God’s plan and submit it all to Him.
Even when we don’t understand, we can trust His will and purpose, and most importantly, we can trust His character.
We may approach the new year with uncertainty, but we can look back with gratitude and clarity, and move forward with hope and faith.
Before we welcome the new year, set a moment to spend time with God. This is a chance to look back with gratitude, and move forward with hope. Happy New Year!
Today on Campus is hosted by Dave Estrera and Jello de los Reyes.
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