Hasta luego 2020! Bon voyage. Sayonara. Adios. See ya later. It’s been a good run 2020. You’ve been a real swell guy.
We thought we would never live to see the day we would wish farewell to our beloved 2020.
This time of the year we are forced to reflect over the past 12 months, but more enjoyably, look forward to what a new year might bring for us. It’s good therapy I think. A New Year’s Eve bringing in a New Years Day, is good for our souls. And especially this time around.
What are you going to think when you hear the year “2020”? What is going to be written in history books? What are the milestones or markers that have defined our new decade? Obviously the national and global “highlights” come to mind first. But what about personally? What are the things that have moved you, and changed you, and been accomplished in the local embodiment of your very own soul?
For me, I’ve been reflecting on how the dark lowlights of 2020- the dreary pain, the endless confusion, the desperate pleas of my heart, and the ruthless upheavals- have not, in fact, won the final battle. The things I thought I would always want to forget, are the things I am wanting to remember most. Not because of the drama or trauma, but because of the glory that was brought out of them.
I remember texting a friend in July, desperately asking for prayer, and in her answer she wrote, “But let me also encourage you a little, that no one feels okay right now!” It was such a good reminder that my crisis was actually, in reality, nothing special. Everybody everywhere was just in general “not okay” this year.
I also remember asking for desperate prayer, yet again, in care group. And a prayer warrior friend of mine, afterward came up to me and said, “You know you can text me anytime, and I will pray for you. You don’t even need to give any details. You can just text: pray. And I will go to the throne of grace.” Tears welled up hot and ready after receiving such genuine love from her words. Her offer of prayer was not her second resort, after first giving me her advice. Her readiness to pray for me was her primary choice of encouragement; and I believed in all my heart that was the one thing I needed most. Divine intervention.
This Psalm rightly describes my past 12 months:
When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up. (Ps. 94:18)
How many times in the past year have I grappled, “The rugs just keep getting pulled from under me,” or, “I just cannot get my bearings, because as soon as I do… out comes another rug!”
For some reason I really liked the rug metaphor…
But it really did feel like that! All these “rugs” that I had been standing on comfortably and stable for my whole life were tossing me around mercilessly. I tried to keep my trust, and give them the benefit of the doubt, but everything just kept on knocking me off my balance again and again. Relationships (inside and out), health (inside and out… for reals), church, theology, marriage, childrearing, even my very own self proved unreliable, fickle, unknown, and untrustworthy!
YET! When I thought there was no sturdy ground left to reside on… When I thought finally and brokenly “my foot slips,” YOUR STEADFAST LOVE, O LORD, HELD ME UP!
Oh the screaming truth of that verse! How pungently right! How accurate! How absolutely astounding that one verse is. It defines this year so fittingly.
Actually, many parts of Psalm 94 does.
Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble. (Ps. 94:12-13)
The Lord has disciplined me greatly. I believe that my near “foot slips” all year long was not a cruel and bullying game by God. No. It was loving, caring, intense Fatherly discipline.
The rugs of my life weren’t teaming against me. The Lord was actively and aggressively “pulling the rugs” to show that His steadfast love would hold me up.
The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever!
That line is repeated about a million times in the Psalms. And I love how that is what is doing the holding up when the foot slips. God’s forever love. FOREVER, people. Like, forever!
My year this year was one giant earthquake. Everything was flipped and flopped, and rattled and ripped.
But I was not destroyed! I never fell. I never truly slipped, nor crashed, nor broke any bones. Although my world banged me around like the beads in a maraca, the fierce and unending love and intention of the Lord held me tight and firm.
God knew exactly what was going on, and he knew all the events would show me quite clearly of his endless, limitless, secure love.
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. (Ps. 94:19)
Had my foot not felt slippery, would I ever have known the firm holding of God’s love?
Had my heart’s cares been few, would I ever have received the Lord’s cheering consolitions?
Had my life not been disciplined, could I ever have found rest?
No. The short answer is no.
The Lord is good at purifying me. He is so so good at giving me what is best for me: HIMSELF and the circumstances that require me getting more of himself. God is all about Himself. And he is leading me to be more all about him.
This year has taught me much. Oh how absolutely insane this year has been!
And I feel like I should probably be much more Godly than I feel, but I have learned that God has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge (Ps. 94:22).
I don’t trust my sanctified holiness per se, but I trust my God!
I may feel just as sinful and stupid as before, but I have a much tighter grip to the rock that will never fail me. The year 2021 might be more cruel and even more destructive. I might have rugs pulled out from under me that I didn’t even know existed!
And I think that’s the point. Don’t put all your trust back into old rugs, Sarah. Don’t put your trust in yourself. Don’t put your trust where it can so easily be man-handled and maligned, and unstable and unreliable. Don’t even rely on your “spiritual maturity” or the “lessons” God has taught you. Simply, freely, and foundationally TRUST GOD! Your refuge. Your rock.