I have seen an epidemic of regrets on the internet, in blogs, and on social media about the year 2020. Yes, we had an epidemic that infected some of our loved ones and instigated social distancing. Yes, many lost their jobs and their familiar in-person social gatherings. Yes, hardships and challenges and distress abounded in our country and around the world. I am not discounting the pain that happened. Grief is very real because of all that happened in 2020. But, did God hide in a cave all year? Wasn’t He still working in the hearts and lives of everyone who called on Him, and even some who didn’t?!
We as believers should be living a life of celebration even during the worst of times—and looking for reasons to rejoice. Why? It’s because of God’s absolutely amazing grace toward us and what He has done to us and for us that has completely rebooted our lives. A rebooted spiritual life removes all the sin that separated us from God and replaces it with forgiveness for all our sins, redemption from the control of sin in our lives, and reconciliation with God so that we are completely loved and accepted by Him.
And, because of that love, we can always look for the good that God is doing for us and those we love. He is always working good. Always! And, the work that He does is good (Psalm 119:68).
Examples of “bad years” in the Bible
If you have been reading the Bible, there were some pretty bad years that people had to live through back then. They didn’t like it any more than we do. Did David enjoy living a life of a hunted man, going from one hiding place to the next for about 13 years? No. Yet, he learned to rely on God completely. As he did so, he wrote some of the most beautiful poems (we call psalms) that have ever been written. During 2020, you may have memorized verses from those psalms David wrote during a “bad year.”
What about Paul? He could have called the year he had that shipwreck in Acts 27-28 “a bad year.” But, during that bad time, many people learned about how trustworthy and compassionate God was. People got healed and drawn to believe in Jesus. Paul referenced a bad year in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11. It was so bad he thought that he was going to die. But, he knew the good that God did in that bad year and said this,
“But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope…” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10)
Learning to rely on God more than on yourself, your church, your favorite restaurant, your Bible Study, your workplace, and your government is not only a good thing. Learning to rely on God more than on all of those unreliable people, places, and events is a GREAT thing.
What good did God do in your life during 2020?
Our weekly Bible Study had to go virtual in March of 2020 and has continued to be so at the beginning of 2021. I do miss being able to see them in person and give them hugs. We had continually grieved over all that we missed during the time of Covid in 2020. To start off the new year, the Lord put an idea in my head. Start looking for the good that He did during 2020 instead of what I didn’t get!
So, during our first meeting in 2021, I asked the ladies who were joining us virtually again, “What good did God do in your life during 2020?” What they shared showed how we as believers are to respond even in the worst years with circumstances that are painful over which we have no control. I’ll use initials to protect their identities.
- “B” shared that she watched her college-age son’s love for the Lord grow exponentially.
- “C” shared that she got to see her aging parents more frequently than any other year because the cost of traveling to their state was so low.
- “D” saw her young adult son become a good cook who now served his family by cooking for them all.
- “J” praised God that her son got engaged to a beautiful Christian woman, and my friend was thrilled to be getting a new daughter to love.
- “K” shared that the constraints of lock-down brought about the reconciliation of a family relationship once broken but now restored.
- “MB” began volunteering at a local women’s shelter that desperately needed help and loved it so much she is continuing to do so.
- “MN” watched a daughter smile broadly again as she got a new job that she absolutely loves.
- “MP” started a Bible Study in a new living situation and received the gift of new friends from those who attended.
- “S” celebrated the birth of a grandson and a move to a much-loved family homestead.
- “V” watched God keep her family business alive through the economic turmoil.
God was still doing good for His children throughout 2020! I can think of at least 10 things that God did for me and my family that would not have happened if it hadn’t been a “bad year.”
Stop dwelling on what we didn’t get in 2020
So, I am going to ask you that same question, “What good did God do in your life during 2020? For what can you thank Him and praise Him?”
As worshipers of an Almighty God who loves us dearly, we should stop dwelling on what we didn’t get last year and intentionally look for reasons to praise Him for His goodness to us instead. Me included!
And, by the way, this year could be even worse than last year for you and for me. But, our God will be doing good for us in the midst of it all! Count on that! Look for that! As the walking, talking visible representatives of an invisible God to the lost and hurting world, we should be voicing the good that God is doing for us instead of what we don’t get. Just sayin’.