From the Pulpit: What's good about 2020?

By: 
Pastor Dan Deardoff, Blessed Redeemer Lutheran Church
Most people’s opinion of 2020 can be summed up with the t-shirt that gives it one of five stars and says: “2020 –Would not recommend.” Another t-shirt sums up the disappointment many people felt about being quarantined by proclaiming, “2020 Staycation–the vacation that wasn’t.” Perhaps the most revealing of all of the 2020 t-shirts is the one that simply has a dumpster fire with the year 2020 on the burning dumpster.
 
In stark contrast to these negative views of this year, the Bible teaches us in Psalm 118:24 to say, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Notice that no day or year is attached to that verse. It doesn’t say, “Let us rejoice and be glad in it, unless of course there is a plague this year, or we get carried off into captivity in Babylon. Then you can curse God and the year.” No, good year or bad, the Israelites were told to see God’s hand of blessing in every year, and in every day of the year. 
 
This was not to be an attitude born of naiveté or from ignoring reality. It was an attitude based on a deep abiding faith in a compassionate God. In Habakkuk 3:17 it says, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
 
So how can we rejoice during a year most would like to forget? How about if we thank God for the blessings we still have this year? If you have a roof over your head and food and drink, you are way ahead of so many people in the world. How about the extra family bonding time many have had this year? My wife and I have enjoyed more walks in our beautiful town this year than any other year we have lived here. If you added a member to your family this year, like a child or grandchild, this will be a year to celebrate, not forget.
 
And while you are counting your blessings, don’t forget to count the one that we most often overlook, that God loves us enough to refine our faith with trying times. Hebrews 12:5 reminds us to “not make light of the Lord’s discipline” because “the Lord disciplines those He loves.” As one of my favorite hymns says, “When through fiery trials your pathways shall lie my grace all sufficient will be your supply. The flames will not hurt you; I only design your dross to consume and your gold to refine.”
 
If you look at 2020 with the eyes of faith, you will see it as another step closer to heaven, and a year that despite everything you can thank God for!

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