Today is New Year’s Eve and we stand at an intersection between a year we never want to experience again and a year of unknowns. We will remember 2020 as a year that would be hard to believe had we not lived through it. Think about where you were this time last year, what you were thinking and feeling. I think most of us go into a new year with hope and optimism. This is the year I will—-you fill in the blank. I will lose weight, find a new job, read through the Bible, run a 5K, find love. Most of us set off on January 1 with goals, hopes and dreams. We kiss our loved ones, watch fireworks and drink a toast to send off the old and welcome the new. Never at this time last year could we imagine a pandemic was on our doorstep.
As I have thought back over the events of 2020, I think the most amazing thing that happened was the shutdown. The entire world stopped, became silent. Commerce came to a halt. Doors were shut and locked, even church doors. There was no traffic on the street or in the air. It was strangely quiet. Can we just stop and look at that one aspect of 2020, the global shutdown? What a remarkable event! I do not know of another time in history when something of this magnitude happened except the Great Flood of Noah’s day (yes, I believe that really happened). God silenced us, put us in time out. People, WHAT does God have to do to get our attention?
I won’t rehearse all the other hardships and sadnesses of 2020. We all lived through them. But before we completely close the book on 2020, I wonder if you have questioned why, of all the times in history, you are living now, during this remarkable, unprecedented time. It is a question worthy of taking to the Lord, because He tells us in Psalm 139 that He ordained every day of our lives before we were even conceived. So what is His purpose for us, to be living during these extraordinary days?
That question brings me right back to New Year’s Eve. What is His purpose for you and for me as we cross into 2021? What will we be facing? I want to share a verse with you, a verse I found the other day that really spoke to me:
Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there! Ps. 77:19 NLT
I think some context is important here. The psalmist is referring to the events in the Book of Exodus, when the children of Israel stood facing the waves of the Red Sea with the army of Egypt bearing down hard on them from behind. God was about to provide a path for them to cross over, a path no one would have ever dreamed could exist.
Like the children of Israel, we too are standing at a precipice. The year 2020 is at our rear, and no one wants to go back to that! But the uncertainty of 2021 lies ahead. We thought things would be better by now. We thought life would be more normal, that this terrible virus would have run its course, that all the unrest of a contentious election would be settled. These are our choices: the Egyptian army of 2020 and the Red Sea of 2021. But God.
God has a pathway, a way we have not seen before, a secret way no one knows about. Today, in these final hours of 2020, will you ask God to show you the path He has for you? And if you do not know God, I urge you with every fiber of my being to invite Him into your life to show you the path. You might wonder how to do that. It is simple, but profound. You agree with God that you are a sinner (we all are), you confess those sins and turn away from them and ask Jesus to forgive you and come into your life to guide you. I would not want to go into 2021 without Him.
Jesus, I believe You are God and You died on the cross in my place because of my sin. Please come into my life, forgive my sin, and make me a member of your family. I turn from going my own way. I want You to be the center of my life. Thank You for Your gift of a forever relationship with you and for Your Holy Spirit, who now comes to live in me. I ask this in Your name. Amen.