"Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:4-5 (NIV)
So much can be said for this past year. It has been a time of great challenge for this world. Faced with a virus that we had not seen before, panic set in and many changes ensued that caught us all by surprise. Whether appropriate actions were taken will be discussed for a long time to come, but lives were impacted in ways that brought hardship and pain.
To those who lost loved ones, my heart goes out to you. Most of us have either family or friends who were touched by this illness. So much sorrow has been felt across the nations as the death count has grown. Though we have now learned ways to treat and prevent it, this ugly disease has left a deep mark in our hearts.
Along with the sorrow came the anger that business owners and employees encountered as doors were locked and incomes ended. An article from Fortune in September says that approximately 100,000 businesses in the United States that shut down because of COVID will never again re-open and there have been more since then. This has devastated dreams and lives.
In addition, divorces increased as people were forced into staying at home for long stretches. Depression and suicide rates climbed as fear of the future carried with it a loss of hope for those who were struggling mentally and emotionally.
As we prepare to usher in 2021, I want to assure you that the Lord has been with us through all that has taken place. He has heard every prayer and seen every tear. I cannot explain the whys of what has happened, but I can promise that He has a perfect plan. This has been a time when His children have drawn near to Him and have learned that, indeed, His grace is sufficient and His mercies are new every morning. I have often heard the saying that, "Faith isn't faith until it is all you are holding onto."
I will share with you what I have learned as I have encountered times of grief, tragedy and uncertainty. First, pour out your heart to the Father. Lay your head in His holy lap and cry your tears over your pain and loss. Express your fears and your need for Him. The Psalms show us that David was not hesitant to be honest about His feelings with God and we shouldn't be either. Second, praise Him for who He is and thank Him for all He does. Third, take hold of His hand and never let go! Spend much time in His Word and in prayer. It is His strength that will allow us to tackle whatever is before us and His compassion that will mend our hearts and allow us to reach out to others that are hurting.
May we all find peace and truly feel His joy in this coming year. God bless.