Here we are in February of the year 2021. All through 2020 we longed for that year to end and a new, more positive year to begin. How does it feel so far? Last year we were in captivity by a pandemic that struck the world and suddenly we found ourselves wearing masks everywhere we went, but going out and doing all the things we had enjoyed was very limited and many of those places, like church and restaurants were closed. Schools and businesses were closed. People were basically confined to their homes. Hospitals and nursing homes shut out visitors. Worst of all, many people were infected with a virus that was out of control and so many lives were lost. Yes, we longed for a new year; a different, better time.
The year 2020 was also filled with violence, destructive behavior and great political unrest. People on both sides of the political isle were filled with anger and accusations. We saw hypocrisy at it’s worst in many cases. And while some feel relief that things are changing, the year 2021 has not started out very positive. Thousands have lost jobs, accusations are still flying back and forth, violence and hatred seem to be prevailing and, while we now have vaccines for the virus, we are still fighting an uphill battle with crawling out of this pandemic.
Wow. What a negative picture I have painted here to begin this blog! Unfortunately, it is all true. I think many of us do not feel that this new year is much better – not yet anyway.
I’ve been reading a lot in the bible lately – reading the story of the exodus – about the Hebrew people who had been enslaved in Egypt and were being treated with brutality and injustice. These people had become so hopeless in their situation it seems they forgot about God’s promise to their ancestors – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God’s promise was to always be their God and that they would forever be his people. But when Moses came to tell them God was going to set them free, they begged him to leave so they wouldn’t be treated even worse. They could not find the trust their ancestors had in the God of the covenant. Even so, God persevered until Moses and Aaron led the people out of Egypt, out of slavery and into a new life. That life would have many hardships but still God led them and was with them.
Today, even in this new year, we might have difficulty having hope and trust. We haven’t seen much change yet in our situation. We still might feel like captives in an oppressive land with continued political chaos and with a virus that keeps changing and striking.
But do not lose hope, my friends! The God who created the universe, who called a people to be his own, who intervened in impossible situations and led his people out of slavery – that God is our God and continues to be with us. He walks with us through the storms, through the fire, through the valley of death. He loves us so much he sent his only son, Jesus, to give his life for us so that, no matter what happens we have the promise of life everlasting with him, in a place where there will be no more sorrow, or fear or sickness or death.
God says in Isaiah 43:
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Trust in the Lord, people of God. He is always with us, making a way through whatever we go through. Be sure to listen to this inspiring song, sung by Cindy Powell – I’ve Never Been Out of His Care
Peace and Grace,