I get it 2020 was a rough year. Plans were canceled, jobs were lost, and relationships were stressed. For a while, I was annoyed too, angry even, that God would permit something like this to happen, not just to the world, but, to me. Because that is what it was all about me. Why would He allow this to happen to me? Man has been asking that question for millennia. Each generation must again come to the same realization as I do again and again: God does not answer to me. The plans I made? All the things I thought I was going to do? They were never promised to me in the first place.
James 4:13-15 says it best:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
All I have ever had was the moment I was in. Tomorrow has never been not mine to claim. Conceptually I knew this, but I am not so sure I understood it. At least not like I do now. One day it was business as usual and another is wasn’t. The phrase “if the Lord wills” has new meaning. Now, the phrase has gravity. Whereas before I said it with the same connotation with which I said things like “good morning” and “how are you doing”. The phrase holds weight. Weight that comes from experience and the willingness to surrender. Surrender is a concept I keep coming back to. There is a verse I found myself pondering last year, Proverbs 16:33, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” All things, all outcomes, all situations are predetermined by God. Nothing is happenstance.
This year, many of us lost, many of us lost big, many of us are still losing. None will emerge from this time unscathed. But it hasn’t been all bad. We just had to figure out how to connect differently. I have spent more time Facetiming with friends and family than ever before. I launched a program for work that reconnected me with friends from all over and connected me with people I otherwise may not have met. And attending zoom meeting after zoom meeting put me in rooms that I otherwise may not have entered. Life as I knew it may have stopped, but God did not. He was still at work sustaining, providing, and making things happen as He always has been. My plans may have been thwarted; God’s were not. His power and majesty are limitless.
Now it is time to move forward. Forward with the knowledge and experience of yesteryear not to be crippled by it. Life is not meant to be lived looking back. Time spent dwelling on the past is time lost. Don’t allow all that didn’t happen and did happen last year to bring about a depression. The verses in James and Proverbs do not discourage us from making plans, they caution us. They remind us who is in control and of our position in life. So, move forward. There is no need to worry about tomorrow. Or anything for that matter. The future, as it has always been, is in God’s capable, wonderful, magnanimous, powerful, hands. And I. You. We. Will follow His lead forward. To whatever 2021 holds. Forward. With making plans and surrendering them to the Lord. Forward with heads lifted high. Forward with life. Forward in love. Forward in His strength. Pressing on. Toward the Goal. The prize. The upward call. Of God in Christ Jesus. Forward.