Can you remember where you were that week everything changed? The winter months had brought vague references to “Coronavirus” in China and then, suddenly, BANG. Life as we knew it was over.
I left the Friday before to visit my daughter and her family in the south and when I got back, my world was a different place. I will never forget that first moment of walking through my local grocery store. I had only ever seen empty store shelves when a blizzard was coming. But this was no blizzard and there were no snow plows coming to the rescue of this.
We were told that millions were going to die. Fear was on every face and death was on the forefront of every mind.
Everything locked down. Stores and restaurants and schools and work places were closed. Zoom became how we did school, had work meetings, and even met with friends.
Soon everyone was walking around with masks on. You’d even see people wearing them while exercising outside or in a car alone. People became very upset with those who chose not to wear one. Somehow the freedom to do what we want with our bodies only applied to killing our babies through abortion.
People kept their distance and would cower in fear if you would get too close. They’d step back so you could pass. They no longer hugged friends and family. Many grandparents weren’t even allowed to see their grandchildren. Some still aren’t. (How sad is that??)
Keep in mind that this was all for a virus with less than a 1% death rate (0% for children).
The narrative kept the public paralyzed in fear. Few were willing to look at the real science behind mask-wearing, lock-downs, and viruses and those that would be brave enough to post anything on social media would be removed. Things were “fact-checked” and the public never went behind the scenes to see who was actually doing the “fact-checking”. Were they legitimate? (the short answer, after just a little research, is NO, they are not.)
Meanwhile, the elderly languished and many died. Some died from the virus but many died from the isolation and loneliness that accompanied the draconian measures. Many of them are still in lock-down. It just breaks my heart to think of them without their families and loved ones to watch over their care and to brighten their days with visits. They are one of the greatest casualties in this whole thing.
Then a few months into this whole thing, the news started being filled with stories about riots. Precious monuments and long-held traditions were torn down and washed away. It was an extremely bizarre time of this extremely bizarre year. To say the least.
As if that wasn’t enough, the news became filled with wildfires and hurricanes. Wildfires that completely wiped out thousands of acres and all of the houses and towns that were in their paths. There were more named hurricanes than ever before. Two of those hurricanes were a direct hit on where my daughter lives with her family. Her town is still recovering from that double hit (six weeks apart) and will be for a long time. It was devastating.
And then there was the election. What can even be said about the election? So much could be said but I’ll leave it at this: Fraud has been clearly proven. It is abundantly clear to any thinking person who is willing to look beyond the narrative. And yet, the mainstream media would have us believe that these claims are “unfounded”.
Most of the year felt like we were living in a movie. An apocalyptic film that we wanted to escape from and couldn’t. Reviewing this year reminds me of how incredibly strange it was. I used the word “insanity” more times this past year than I’ve used it in my entire life.
While we didn’t like it, most of us became used to living in a state of uncertainty. We know change is still coming. And we realize that life as we knew it is over. But we were forced to keep living. What other choice did we have? And, for many of us, our day to day wasn’t drastically changed. If we stayed home, we were even able to forget about it for a few hours.
I did learn a lot this past year. I am guessing you did, too. I thought I’d share a few lessons I’ve learned as we come to the end of this very strange year.
1. If you’ve been reading my blog this past year, then you will remember that I had a real battle with fear for about six weeks. It was awful but I came out of it much stronger and God taught me that if I fear Him, I have nothing else to fear. He taught me that He is my peace and my strength. I can’t explain it, but He really did rescue me from that all-consuming fear. I am not saying I still don’t have moments, but that shadow of agonizing anxiety that never left me is gone. God answered my prayer and taught me that He is enough.
2. I also learned to take predictions with a grain of salt. Early on, I read a prediction about this fall that had me thinking many in my family would be dead by Christmas. I lost a whole night of sleep over this report. Needless to say, it didn’t happen. And I learned not to read most of the negative predictions. All they do is scare you and, many times, they don’t even happen. While I do appreciate fact-based data and articles, I learned that predictions are simply conjectures about what might take place in the future. No use getting all worked up about “mights”. Matthew 6:34 states this principle pretty clearly: Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
3. This year brought very strong opinions that were not related to biblical issues. People became divided over things like masks, social distancing, and politics. Questions about whether or not to hold church or gather together as families and friends brought quarrels and arguments. People were very intense and many did not allow for differing opinions. Even Christians would grow agitated if someone shared an opinion that didn’t match theirs. I learned through watching this unexpected turn of events that it was so important to show grace for people, even if we didn’t agree. I always want to live out Romans 8:18 (If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.) And this year brought the perfect opportunity.
4. I like puzzles by nature. I am a very curious person and am fascinated by how things work. This led me to do some digging that most people do not do. I have been doing this for years, so I brought to the 2020 puzzle many facts that the average person is unaware of. And here is the conclusion that I came to (well this isn’t new to me but was just confirmed in 2020): Don’t trust anyone. Only God can be fully trusted. I am shocked at the amount of people who trust that the government has our best interest in mind. I am flabbergasted at the amount of Christians who believe Trump to be the “savior” of our normal. I am stunned at how many believe the vaccine to be a cure-all, despite that no one knows of its side effects, it’s untested, and it’s put out by companies that have been released of all liability. Please, don’t be deceived. I know you may not be like me. You may not care for puzzles. But approach everything you hear with a healthy dose of skepticism. No matter where it comes from. Satan, the master of lies and deception, is actively playing out His plan and there is no “good” side to stand with in this world. Please keep that in mind as you watch things unfold. Choose to stand with God alone, looking to His Word for truth. Yes, you will be lonely, but I can assure you it’s the safest place to stand.
5. And, finally, I have been learning (and continue to learn) to take one day at a time, focusing on the eternal rather than the temporal. This is a constant struggle for me but I continue to work at it. Being thankful helps me to do this (I Thessalonians 5:18). Controlling my thoughts helps me to do this (2 Corinthians 10:5). Thinking about and remembering what really matters helps me to do this (Colossians 3:1-3). Life on earth will seem as just a small blip in the timeline of our lives. There is so much more than what we are experiencing here. We have so much to look forward to!
So it’s good-bye to 2020. It’s been interesting, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like things are going back to normal anytime soon. So let’s keep growing and looking more like Christ. Let’s shine so brightly that those who are searching can spot us in their darkness. And let’s offer encouragement and strength to the saints that is sourced from the Word of Life alone.