It’s become a bit of a joke to talk about 2020 as a crazy year. I’ve seen memes shared on Facebook that reference the many different things our world has faced. Starting with massive brush fires in Australia, the pandemic, riots, looting, and protests, etc…. There has even been talk of these things called “Murder Hornets” — giant, 2 ” long hornets that are starting to move into our nation.
Now, just recently, I saw a joke on social media where someone posted a clip of a bear in a zoo that was swinging some sticks around like nunchuks. As if 2020 hasn’t tossed enough at us already!
So how do we take this? What’s our response to a crazy world seemingly gone mad?
To answer that, let’s look at another one.
It was back in January, before all this really set in, that my family and I went on a shopping trip to another town about 50 miles away. As we were driving into town, I saw a church sign proclaiming “2020: The Year of our Breakthrough!” One can only presume that a “Breakthrough” was being presented as a good thing. It’s become a popular notion among some Christian circles that the purpose of religion, or the purpose of God, is to simply facilitate good things happening. Many teachers and churches specifically use the word “Breakthrough” in the message they preach. They say that God is there to help us achieve our destiny, or our purpose in life. That he WANTS us to be rich, healthy, prosperous…and that all we need to do is to believe or trust in him to make it happen. One can see how that would be a message that would be popular. We all want to believe that only good things will happen, right?
After all, Romans 8:28 says that God works only for our good, right? We’re often told that God won’t give us more than we can handle, right?
Not so fast.
It’s interesting. The church sign I’m referring to has been changed. It no longer says anything about a “Breakthrough”. I’m not sure what is currently on the sign, but last I saw, it was not anything to do with 2020 being a wonderful, prosperous year.
God never promises a Breakthrough to us. He never promises that we would be healthy, wealthy, and wise. He never promises that we would not face more than we can handle, or that we’d consider what we face to be good.
Romans 8:28 states “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (ESV)
It says that God will make all things work together for good — but not necessarily that it would be pleasant, or enjoyable for us. Sometimes it may even be God’s will that things we would consider bad happen to us.
Why? Because it causes us to grow in trust and love for him when we see him working in the midst of it.
Romans 5:3-5 states “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (ESV)
What message is God sending the world in 2020?
He’s telling us to trust in him. He’s telling us that maybe we haven’t figured everything out. He’s telling us that maybe we need him.
He’s telling us to look to him for our hope and our salvation. It’s only in these trials that we see hope, and ultimately the love of God.