Resting and Remembering in 2020
SEARCHING AND DOUBT
Google recently released their “Year in Search” video for 2020. If you haven’t watched it, I’ve linked it below, and encourage you to.
The first line of the video says, “The most human trait is to want to know why,” going on to say that 2020 ultimately was a year of people searching for the answer to the question, “why?”
2020 has brought so much searching in the world. More than usual. Searching for truth, searching for answers. Every day this year presented a new challenge, a new headline, a new story to process—and it’s been so easy to be overwhelmed by the suffering and the unknown. At least, I have been. But then we came to the season of Advent in the year that has been 2020, and I was reminded again of God’s provision.
Advent is a season where we honor the searching and waiting that took place before the world received the baby that would save it. This year feels heavy with searching and waiting in every way, but in both, we have the answer and the gift—that He has already come. Our Redeemer. The one we’ve been searching and waiting for.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Immanuel means, God with us. He’s here, He’s working. Even when we can’t see or feel it. 2020 hasn’t overwhelmed Him, and 2021, whatever it holds, won’t either.
REMEMBER AND REST
Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity. He was teaching in their synagogues, being acclaimed by everyone.
He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is on Me,
because He has anointed Me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent Me
to proclaim freedom to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down.
And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him. He began by saying to them,
“Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”
All of our searching, anxiety and doubt begins and ends in Christ. He welcomes those things and puts them to rest. The message of the coming of Jesus that the prophets had been preaching for hundreds of years in the Old Testament came to pass and is complete. What we must do though, over and over, is remember. We must be our own prophet in a way, reminding ourselves of the truth and the gospel—that it is finished—and have people around us who are doing the same.
Is it easy? Not really. Actually, pretty much never, but when we do, when we remember and surrender, it’s like when the people would listen to the prophets. When they would repent and come back to God, He was kind, compassionate, loving and took care of them. Why would He do any less for us? But we have to choose to do those things—to lay down the searching, the control, the fear, the anxiety—every day choosing something better. The One Who knows and sees and loves us.
Then, we can rest despite the unknown because we’re reminded that things aren’t really unknown, are they? They are known by the One Who truly is in control and knows and sees every day of our lives, including those in 2020. We can lay down our desire for control and answers because we remember and trust and rest in the fact that He is in control and loves us.
MANNA FOR TODAY
In the wilderness, when God provided manna to the Israelites, they weren’t expecting it. The prophet Moses announced to them in Exodus 16 that because they were complaining—specifically about God—that God had decided to provide them with manna.
It’s pretty incredible that God’s response to the Israelites complaining about Him was to provide for them. In the same way, when we feel lost, apathetic or even angry, we can go to the Word to find comfort, strength and help, and He’ll provide for us, reminding us that it is finished. Our searching is over.
Remind yourself of that today when you begin to doubt or search. In our searching and in our doubt and in our failures, He’s the answer. And He provides what we need day by day. Rely on the manna He provides for today, and let that be enough for your weariness. And when we look back and remember 2020, let’s remember the difficult things that happened this year and how God provided in the midst of them.
I’m so thankful God has shown himself and His love for me more this year than I deserve. I’m thankful for 2020, what it taught me on so many levels—to be quiet and listen, to confess, to pray, to be present, to honor and value myself in order to serve others, to be strong and courageous, to invest in others ... but mostly to love well and be kind. To myself, my family and those around me.
So, in an ode to 2020, you were not easy, but you’re being redeemed. And more than just getting past you, I’m thankful for the hard things and that they helped me to remember and rest in Jesus.
What has 2020 taught you?
What challenges, hurts, anxieties or doubts are you remembering and finding rest in?
What can you be grateful for, or at least, what do you see Jesus redeeming or have faith He will redeem?
What has He provided that has sustained you this year?
Lord, I pray for all those who might read this that they would see You and the manna You provided for today. The small helps, the small miracles, the small, seemingly mundane ways You met them today. I’m so grateful that You are not far, even if it feels that way. Help us to remember. To remind ourselves of Your kindness toward us, and that even when we are or feel out of control, that’s okay, because You are in control and You are the best person for the job. Help us have faith in that today, and give You our frantic searching, our anxiety and our doubts. Amen.