Do you remember where you were this time last year? We were all so excited. There is always a lot of enthusiasm as the current year gives way to the next one. Not only were we celebrating an end to the year; we were celebrating the end of a decade. We all had so many hopes and dreams about what was in store for us. It was going to be the new “Roaring Twenties.” Alas, all of that came to a crashing halt sometime around February or March. The world plunged into a pandemic, and we have yet to work our way out of it. All that was expected of 2020 fell flat.
Along the way, our hope turned into hurt. Instead of fulfilling all that we had set out to do, we were left sitting in our houses surrounded only by our broken dreams. There was loss, far too much loss. Worldwide, there have been nearly 2 million lives lost to this virus. Here in the US, we have said goodbye to almost 350,000 people. It’s been almost a full year of constantly hearing of death and sadness. There have been other losses along the way as well. People have lost their jobs, friendships, marriages, financial stability, homes, holidays, family gatherings, peace, joy, and happiness. There is very little that we can look back upon in 2020 and smile about. We would be remiss if didn’t at least recognize that there were some good times as well. Unfortunately, those seem to be the outliers of the year.
Now, here we are, just about to walk into the unknown of 2021 together. You can even feel a sense of optimism about turning the page on the calendar. Instead of singing “Auld Lang Syne,” we are singing the chorus of, “It has to be better than last year.” It’s hard to argue with that sentiment. After the disaster that was 2020, things have to turn around, right? I think that we’re all wise enough to understand that it won’t turn around overnight. Everything will not be fixed once the ball reaches the fullness of its descent. It’s going to take time for the world to get back to “normal.” That may be the thing that we most miss, normalcy.
As this year closes, there is an undeniable sense of hope. Hope is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us. It can truly turn one’s life around. We all know that feeling of being filled with hope. We become different people. The sun seems to shine a little brighter, food taste a little bit better, and we begin to smile just a little bit more. We are called to be people of hope. Sometimes that is hard to do though. We have all felt our hopes dashed time and time again over this past year. It’s hard to be hopeful when you’re hurting.
Thankfully, God has promised not to leave us in our state of hurt. He knows how his children are feeling. He sees our pain, and he hears our cries. Just like the Jews in Egypt, he will come to our rescue. More often than not, it’s going to happen when we least expect it. His timing is perfect, and he has something special in store for all of us. In truth, that plan is probably already set-in motion, we’re just unaware of it. Read what God had to say in Isaiah 43:19, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” God has never ceased to make a way through the wilderness for his followers. He knows how lost in the woods that we have all felt this year. Take hope, he’s not going to leave us there. He will lead us out into a new and better land, a promised land.
My advice is to stop, take a breath, look around, and try to figure out what “new thing” God is doing in your life. Find those things in which your heart beats a little bit quicker about. Those are the things of hope that God is working out just for you. He has promised us that he will lead us out of the wilderness. He will bring us from hurting to hopeful. That is who he is, a way maker. So, as we head into this next year and chapter of our lives, search for the path of hope that God has made for you. Once you find it, follow it. It’s going to lead you to somewhere beautiful. It will lead you to joy.