2020 was a hard and unnerving year for many. 2021 is starting out even worse with the events of the breach of the Capitol building, the overall uncertainty for many with the integrity of the election, a potentially worse strain of COVID along with much loss of life, palatable division in the land, dealing with kids at home all the time, and the list goes on.
I have been texting and messaging with friends and family over the last several weeks about the events of November 3rd and beyond in an attempt to keep up with the latest news regarding national events and otherwise. I don’t think I have ever watched so many youtube video clips or viewed so many twitter screenshots in my entire life!
I believe what I am looking for in these texts and messages is a sign that everything is going to be ok. That 2021 will be better than 2020.
Scrolling through Facebook the other day, I saw the following meme (or is it GIF?) that made me laugh out loud and yet revealed an underlying nervousness about the start of the New Year:
I think the above meme reveals what many people are now questioning: will 2021 be another difficult and uncertain year?
Before we dive in, I have just one qualifier. This will not be a political post, but rather a reflective post to point myself back to what really matters. I would ask that you keep your negative comments to a minimum and try to be open to hearing my heart speak.
The following post is about what I am telling myself truly matters at the start of 2021. If you would like to hear what I have to say, then feel free to read on.
For me, what really matters is this:
Do I know and trust God? And am I living in such a way that pleases him?
Right after the events of November 3rd, I texted a friend and asked him for his opinion on what would happen in the coming weeks. He skillfully transitioned the text away from the election and on to what really matters. This was his response:
“But take heart, God is in control. And if we are nearing the end, then things will get a lot worse. But in the end, we shall stand before him and none of this will matter.”
I sat there for a moment with his last sentence and let it sink into my soul:
But in the end, we shall stand before him and none of this will matter.
His text reminded me of an interview I did with my friend Marla on how to be prepared for emergency situations. I was really digging her out on practical ways to successfully survive the Zombie Apocalypse (which sadly doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore). I think my question was indicative of my need for security, and for definitive answers.
Instead, Marla gave me a non-answer. Or rather, a God-answer. Here is the short exchange:
Me: “Marla, let’s talk The Walking Dead. End of the World. Zombie Apocalypse. What then?”
Marla: “Honestly, you’re a goner. I mean, there is nothing you can do for that stuff. It’s going to be chaos and mayhem. And you have the Lord; like….that’s it (and really, what more do you need?). Your days are numbered; he knows when your end is going to be.”
I remember sitting with that response as well; her words sinking into my soul.
You have the Lord. Like that’s it. And really, what more do you need?
So what am I telling myself during the beginning of 2021? The same thing I told myself all throughout 2020:
I have the Lord, and he is all I need. I will stand before him in the end.
As some of you know, I have worked in politics for most of my adult life, minus my stay at home parent tenure and the last two years as I have transitioned into a career in private investigation. Like every person reading this post, I have survived both Democrat and Republican presidencies. I plan on surviving again (and actively praying for) the next administration.
I recall the time immediately after George W. Bush had won the White House and also had Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate. I was working on Capitol Hill at the time as a Senate staffer, and watched as many Republicans were elated and popping champagne with the winning hand they had been dealt. The champagne continued to flow until May 24, 2001, when Vermont Republican James Jeffords shocked his colleagues and the nation by announcing that he would leave his party to become an Independent and would caucus with the Democratic Party. His action returned Democrats to the majority. Never before the 107th Congress had party control formally shifted within the course of a two-year congressional term. (word for word source: https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/unforgettable_107th_congress.htm#:~:text=The%202000%20election%20also%20produced,breaking%20vote%20on%20organizational%20matters.)
Right after Jeffords announced his party switch, I remember sitting outside and feeling depressed.
Guess what? That was 20 years ago. And I survived all these many years later.
Here are the principles I am keeping in mind as we begin 2021: First, I am called to love God above all else. Second, I am called to love my neighbor/family/friend/enemy as I love myself. Finally, God is in control of 2021, even if things seem out of control. He is a stronghold in the day of trouble.
Here are a few verses I am dwelling on as we begin this new year:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul…love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37
The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Psalm 103:19
So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Romans 14:12
So given the fact that God is in control, am I trusting that he is in control of what is happening in our country and praying for things that need to be prayed about? Am I letting fear rule over me?
And in the vein of loving my neighbor — instead of disagreeing with someone on Facebook, am I praying for them? Am I kind to them? Do I reach out to build a relationship with them or just leave a comment to prove a point?
I remember sitting down with a family member this past summer and asking him what he thought about COVID and all the ongoing uncertainty of 2020. I was surprised at what he said:
“I think this is a time for repentance.”
Perhaps that is true!
The other night I woke up with a burden to pray for our country and all of the events transpiring. I felt led to read out of the book of Nahum (of all random books), and here are the three verses that stood out to me:
The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The Lord is GOOD, a stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. But with an overwhelming flood He will make an utter end of its place, and darkness will pursue his enemies.” (Nahum 1: 3, 7, 8)
I think people don’t realize that God sees all and will eventually judge all. He will judge the wicked in his time and in his way. Maybe we will see the results on earth, maybe we won’t.
All I have is here and now. I am reminding myself that the most important thing is that I know and love the Lord, and my ultimate confidence comes from God. He is an ever present help in times of trouble! And I will stand before him in the end.
Presidents will come. Presidents will go. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer will eventually retire. COVID will eventually end (God-willing). American life may or may not go back to “normal.”
Maybe you feel that the election was stolen. Maybe you feel that the election was free and fair, and there are a bunch of people trying to undermine the process. No matter where you stand, I still say this: God is in control and has the last word, even with respect to the election. We can certainly pray and put our trust in him.
For those who are feeling confident, I say to you: do you know the Lord? Is it possible that God is using the difficulty and uncertainty of these times to open your eyes and draw you to himself and show you that you need him?
For those who are in despair, I say to you: do you know the Lord? Is it possible that God is using the difficulty and uncertainty of these times to open your eyes and draw you to himself and show you that you need him?
Things could get a lot worse before they get better. 2021 could be more difficult than 2020.
But guess what? I am choosing to trust! I will trust the process and trust in God!
So cheers to 2021! Why? Because I have the Lord, and my confidence and hope come from him. In the end, I will give an account of my life. He will give me the strength and grace to get through whatever may come. I need to focus on what I know I can and should do: love God and love people. And trust in him!
And that, my Dear Reader, is what I am telling myself.
And in the words of my dear friend Marla:
You have the Lord. Like that’s it.
And really, what more do you need?
To read Marla’s post on emergency preparedness, click here: Interview with a Preparedness Expert/Mom
To read about ways I am finding peace during uncertain times, click here: The Purge, Preparedness, Prayer and Prophets – Finding Peace during uncertain times.
Looking for something a little lighter to read? Here is the story of my unique journey to Capitol Hill many years ago: From the valley to the hill (part 1). By the way, this was my first published blog post!