What an extraordinary year 2020 has been! This has been the year of incredible tests to the human spirit: a deadly pandemic enveloped the world, compromising our livelihoods and forcing us to distance from each other; political quarrels escalated as the social divide deepened; natural disasters like wildfires and tornadoes devastated many corners of the world.
We who have survived this tumultuous year have a tremendous reason to be grateful to the Lord. But we are here not just because we are blessed -- we are also called to learn from the challenges that unfolded in 2020, so that we may become better Christians in 2021 and beyond.
We at Christian Style have chosen the Bible verses that resonated the most with us this year, and we invite you to join us in reflecting on these verses.
1. We have the strength to outlast our fears.
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
2020 has been a year of many fears. We worried about our health, our finances, our loved ones, and more. With hospitals full and streets empty, it felt like being trapped in a bad dream with no end in sight.
But God reminds us numerous times throughout the Bible that He will help us get through the things that we fear. To start with, He has gifted us with mental and physical faculties, with skills, and with available resources that we can use to outlast our challenges.
When we start feeling anxious or losing hope, we have to recall verses like Isaiah 41:10 -- an assurance from God Himself that we can get through scary times.
2. We are allowed to mourn.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance..."
Numerous families are currently grieving the loss of their loved ones due to COVID-19. Others are lamenting other kinds of losses: lost jobs, lost joys, lost potentials.
It's important to give ourselves time to mourn, to acknowledge our grief instead of bottling it up or letting it pull us to a downward spiral. In this regard, we'd also love to share with you these beautiful inspiring words by author Larkin Warren:
"For a precious little while, you are allowed to be stunned into silence, or to shriek, or to talk—recounting stories of who he was, what she meant to you, and how it all came to an end. Tell those stories. Some people may try to enforce 'The Rules,' to wit: Enough of This Drama Is Enough. Ignore them. Besides, if you treat yourself gently and take the time you need, someday soon you'll hear the faint but steady voice of your own good sense. Play music you love, sit in the sunshine if you can find some, and if anyone offers you a hand, hold it. Let them feed the cat, too, because they want to be useful. If your good sense does not kick in on its own, help it along: scramble some eggs. It will feel strange at first. But if you pretend that scrambling eggs is normal, eventually it will become normal. Soon you can squeeze some orange juice, too."
Allow yourself to feel, to be sad, to cry. Let some loved ones care for you. Resign yourself to God. His Word reminds us that we are given the time to do these, because afterwards, there will be a time to laugh and dance. You will get there soon enough.
Pillow pictured above: "Because Someone We Love Is In Heaven" Pillow
3. Christ is in our helping.
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me."
Charity, service, and good deeds were much needed in 2020. As a collective, we couldn't have come this far without the service of frontline workers who helped save lives, and the generosity of common citizens who eased the struggles of those in need.
Each of us can help each other in our own way. And with every person that we assist, with every burden that we lighten, we are connecting with Christ. This verse from Matthew is a beautiful illustration that Christ is in our helping.
4. We can speak our truth kindly.
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
In a year of socio-political divisiveness, how we expressed our thoughts was crucial. It's natural for people to have differing opinions, but this should not have led us to inflict pain and feed each other's animosity. There is always a way to speak our truth with tact and kindness, so that our words are constructive instead of destructive.
There are many Bible verses about speaking kindly, but this line from Ephesians is specific about 'building up' and 'giving grace to those who hear'. The Bible itself is telling us that our words should be aimed at being helpful.
5. We can rebuild.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
It's important to remember that even the strongest storms will pass, and when it does, we will have the opportunity to rebuild. Sometimes, the destruction is so immense that putting our lives back together seems impossible. But Jesus props us up us in big and small miracles. It can be through a helping friend, a personal resource, or our own inner fortitude. Hold on to the knowledge that Christ helps you make things possible.
Wall art pictured above: "I Can Do All Things" Premium Square Canvas
6. We need to slow down.
"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes."
It took a health crisis for many of us to finally slow down and step away from our frantic lifestyles. 2020 has been the year we spent more time with our family at home or rediscovered our solitude.
Admittedly, this was was a difficult task because we had been so used to being busy and hearing so much noise that we really had to adjust when coming back to a simple inner life. We had to relearn how to be quiet and still, how to be present with our loved ones, and how to be intimately connected with God.
May this be a lifestyle change we keep from this point forward: to temper our daily lives so that we don't lose our soul in the modern flurry.
Wall art pictured above: "All I Need Today -- Coffee & Jesus" Premium Canvas
7. We are always blessed. There is always something to be thankful for.
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows."
Despite the troubles and fears that occurred in 2020, there remained many precious blessings in our lives. Whether it's the presence of loved ones, the roof over our head, the pet who curls up beside us at the end of the day, or just the simple fact that we are alive and healthy, we are never down to zero. And so we remember to say thanks every day, to see the value of the blessings that we still receive. Truly, our cup overflows every day.
Need some help in finding gratitude? Read our post on things to be grateful for in 2020 -- it has great affirmations to help you see how blessed you are even in this challenging year.
We hope this article helps you bid farewell to 2020, and face 2021 with grace, courage, and thankfulness. What other lessons have you picked up this year? Do share in the comments!
From all of us here at Christian Style, a blessed New Year to you and yours!