I don’t know if there has been a year like 2020 that was so universally disappointing.
Perhaps, there is nothing new under the sun as it is said, but at least not in my lifetime has there been a year so full of uncertainty, strange public mandates, fear of deadly disease and divisiveness. It feels hopeful to have it all in the rearview mirror and hope for a better 2021.
There is a better way to think of the past year than reciting all of the things we didn’t like about it.
I learned something several years ago navigating some very rough water on my 18-foot open skiff.
As it happens in Alaska waters, the day can be bright and sunny, calm winds and water only to be anything but that in mere minutes. I was crossing Kachemak Bay when the wind came up fiercely in a crossing pattern to the tide, which was building higher and higher with “whitecaps” curling over the top and threatening to fill my boat. I would breach the swell ahead of me as I attempted to cross back to the Homer Spit and safety only to have the wind whip the wake and spray back over me and the boat. I really questioned if I was going to make it.
Then in the midst of the drama, I had a moment of clarity. I thought, I will just assume that I will make this crossing successfully. If that’s the outcome, then everything in between is adventure. My perspective changed in a moment and I actually enjoyed the ride instead of cowering in fear. I obviously made it as assumed, and now recall the experience as a wild adventure I thoroughly enjoyed.
Whether or not this new year will continue the wild adventure of the year most recently ended or not, we can make a similar assumption: we are going to make it. I can base that assumption not on my skill or cleverness, but on the fact that Jesus has my future in His hands. I think of this scripture spoken by the prophet Jeremiah of the Old Testament:
22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
I think we will find in 365 more days that we will come through whatever the new year may hold. Our choice is, will we be clenching our fists in fear, or enjoying the ride, assured of our destination? God’s faithfulness doesn’t promise a smooth ride all of the time but it does promise that no matter what happens we are in good hands.
The Rev. Stephen Brown ministers at Kenai New Life Assembly of God. Visit our Facebook page at Kenai New Life or website at Kenainewlife.org.