Most of us would prefer not to re-live a year like this.
For the first time in our lives, we experienced our world coming to a screeching halt. Our schedules changing, jobs being taken away, large amounts of time spent away from loved ones or for some of us saying goodbye to a loved one. Racism exposed. Political unrest.
Perhaps some of us had a relatively normal year, but for the vast majority of us, 2020 was nothing but normal. It was a year we didn’t expect and when it came at us like a wrecking ball, most of us didn’t know how to handle such chaos.
With a new year begun, we can only hope for a different year. Hope that this coming year of 2021 will be better than 2020.
We seemed to just survive with our heads barely above water in 2020– how can we approach 2021 with hope?
It’s easy to be hopeful and say the words that we want to start off strong, but what if our circumstances don’t change in 2021. Even more, what if absolutely nothing about the world pandemic and chaos we are living in changes in 2021?
What if 2021 is the identical twin to 2020, or perhaps the evil twin? In other words, how will you choose to live in 2021 if we are still living in the midst of chaos?
Turning “What If” into “Even If”
Daniel 3 tells us the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Three young Israelite men who not only had faith in God, but showed their faith by their works.
During this time, King Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image that was “90 feet high and 9 feet wide” (Daniel 3:1) and commanded that everyone in town must bow to the statue and worship it whenever the music played. Anyone who refused to worship the image would be thrown into a blazing fire.
These three men refused to worship the statue because they only worship God. So, Nebuchadnezzar commanded that they be thrown into the fiery furnace, heated seven times hotter than normal.
The three men responded in Daniel 3:18 saying they believe their God would rescue them and fix their situation, “but EVEN IF He does not [rescue us], we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
God did rescue them that day. But can you imagine the trust these three men had to have in God?
They could have moaned and complained and worried with all the what-ifs in the world. But they turned their what if into an even if.
Those are two very powerful words.
It’s knowing and believing in God, trusting Him in every situation in 2021 even if He doesn’t change the chaotic circumstances we are living in. It’s saying to yourself:
I know God can find our family a job, but even if He doesn’t…
I know God can remove the coronavirus, but even if He doesn’t…
I know that God can heal my broken marriage, but even if He doesn’t…
Let’s have the faith that these three young men had. That no matter what we face in 2021, all the unknowns, all the what-ifs, that we know our God is faithful and we know He is sovereign.
The we know He can answer all our prayers, but EVEN IF He doesn’t, we will still worship and trust in Him and Him alone.
The Most Beautiful Things Can Come from the Most Chaotic Circumstances
One of the most beautiful life changing events to ever happen to us as believers happened during a culturally chaotic time. Did you know Jesus was born in the midst of chaos?
An angel appeared to a virgin named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph (Luke 1:26-38). Talk about a scandal that would have made for some good reality TV.
Furthermore, Caesar Augustus was at the helm of the Roman Empire proclaiming himself to be God. In the year Jesus was born, there was violence, chaos, political and social unrest. It was dark.
But at just the right time, when the world was dark, light was brought into our world. Jesus stepped into the chaos and brought peace. Fast forward to this year ending 2020, and coming into 2021, we are experiencing similar things.
I am hopeful of 2021, but for those who feel the world is dark, remember that even in the darkest of times, light will, and has stepped in. In our chaos, He is there.
In our darkest time, He is there. He brings light, and we can stay close to that light by staying close to Him through His word. For “His word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light to our path” (Psalm 119:105).
His word sheds just enough light as a lamp to guide us one step at a time. We must remain in His word and allow His light to guide us through the dark times.
Going through chaos sure doesn’t feel good, nor at times, does it look good, but remember, God Himself is good. Beautiful things can be birthed in the darkest chaotic seasons. Trust that He has a purpose and He wants to birth someone beautiful out of this chaos.