“Thank goodness 2020 is over”


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Last year at this time, about the most oft-repeated phrase was something along the lines of how we all were thankful that the “awful pandemic year” was finally over. Well, there was also the “awful politics year” people, so all in all most Americans were embracing 2021 as if it was a rescue dog.

Surprise! The 2021 year was worse than the first. More covid variants. More covid deaths. More upheaval in every aspect of our “new” political regime.

Now we have inflation we haven’t seen in nearly a half century. We have record high gas prices. We are again energy buyers, not sellers. And for all those who are “green conscious,” the oil we are bringing in from OPEC and from Russia, has not been produced in a clean way as US energy had been produced.

We’ve also seen record illegal immigration. We have broken faith with Afghans and had a Vietnam-like departure that stranded Americans and allies alike. We are not responding to the global threats from North Korea and their super rocket that can deliver a nuclear weapon anywhere in the world. China is making all kinds of steps toward Taiwan without our response. Russia is making threatening moves toward Ukraine and all we’ve done is issue a “strong warning” that we’ll respond with sanctions if they don’t settle down and leave Ukraine alone. In other words, all the nations opposed to democracy are stronger and bolder and less responsive to what the US government says.

Then there is the failed promises of a united country here at home. Besides the political divide, we are divided over mask mandates and vaccine mandates. People are threatened with losing their jobs or being kicked out of the military—in contradiction to candidate Biden’s own words that he would not insist on such mandates.

Schools have opened, closed, had teachers vote not to return after the holidays. I could go on, but the point of this post, believe it or not, is not to decry how bad things were in 2021.

Rather, as I see it, the real problem is that we Americans seemed convinced that a new year would automatically be a better year. That we had “reached bottom” with the first covid surge. We actually aren’t near “the bottom.”

The real bottom will come when God again judges the human race because we are a sinful people. He judged the world once and He has said in His word, that there will be a final judgment. That was true for Israel in a limited way. They turned away from God and He sent drought or war or disease to call them back to Himself. He sent them prophets to call them to repentance. Many prophets. And finally He sent His Son to give all the people of the world, then and now, a way of rescue from the coming judgment.

Today, I see things like the pandemic and “climate change” and racial tension and international upheaval as the same kinds of warnings God sent Israel. He wants us to bow the knee and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, that He has come and will come again. That we too can repent and be saved.

The question is, what are we going to do with God’s warnings? Are we going to ignore them and dive into 2022 with the assumption it will be a better year, just because? Are we going to wring our hands and worry ourselves into the grave because so many things are “out of control.”

In truth nothing is out of control. God, not we humans, has it all under control. Here in California a favorite covid saying was, “We’ve got this.” Like, all we have to do is mask up and get vaccinated, and we will be on top of covid. It will not defeat us! And then the Delta variant hit, followed by the Omocron surge. And boosters and new mandates and regulations and closures.

All of this, God knew from eternity past, before the foundation of the world. He has His purposes. I don’t pretend to know them all, but since He sent warnings to Israel through wars and famine and disease, and since Jesus Himself enumerated warnings about His final judgment in Matt. 24, I’m of the mindset that one of God’s reasons for allowing the covid years is to call us to repentance.

He said in Ezekiel,

“Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he would turn from his ways and live?” (18:23)

Then a few verses later He again states

For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live!” (18:32)

No, our faith should not be in 2022, a better year. It should not be in our ability to over come, or in following mask mandates or in vaccine boosters, or in converting our savings to gold or in any of the other plans a number of people have for overcoming the problems that seem to be tearing our country, and even the world, apart.

Our hope is in the sure and finished work of Jesus Christ. It has never been in affordable gas prices or democracy or a government that isn’t as corrupt as others might be. When we understand that persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia and Vietnam and North Korea have just as much hope as American Christians can have, we will understand that our hope is not dependent upon our material conditions. Not on our safety; the approval of our family, neighbors, community, friends; the abundance of goods; the easy of services.

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Refrain:
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand:
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

Published in: on January 5, 2022 at 1:01 pm  Comments (7)  
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