by Sarah Klazinga
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. –I Thessalonians 5:16-18
This year has been… unprecedented? Has anyone said that before? The large difficulties and uncertainties have magnified the small ones and made the whole year feel like one big disaster.
In January we heard that “hindsight is 2020.” “What a great year this will be for reflection.” “Can you believe The Roaring 20’s were a century ago?” Can you believe January wasn’t a century ago?
March brought a global pandemic with varying degrees of lockdown across the world. Economic uncertainty increased as the restrictions continued into April and then into May. Graduations, weddings, and vacations were cancelled or put on hold. Riots and unrest swept through the country after some extremely controversial violence making things even more uncertain and tumultuous.
There were floods, wildfires, a record hurricane season, a derecho (had anyone ever heard of such a thing until 2020?), and tornados.
Social media seemed to heighten anxiety and frustration as everyone stuck in their homes burst forth in views and reviews on every topic imaginable from masks and the ability to gather in groups, to who has won this election and how we should feel about it.
Does Scripture have anything to say about how we should live in unprecedented times?
Paul tells us three things we should be doing always, at all times, constantly and in everything. That includes even this unpredictable Year of Our Lord 2020. “Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks.”
As we look back over 2020, and look forward to Thanksgiving, we rejoice in the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness. This year has not taken Him by surprise; 2020 is not His “Plan B.” He knew every detail of this year even before He spoke this world into existence. He is sovereign over all, and we take comfort and rejoice in that.
Because God is sovereign and good we continue to pray. Pray for our country and its leaders. Pray that the Lord will bring repentance, peace, and unity to our land for His glory. Pray for one another as we weather the trials of this year. Pray for our brothers and sisters in the developing world (you can read more about that below). Pray for our presbyteries affected by storms of all kinds this year. Pray for the Moots, Kennedys and Bowles families, severely affected by flooding this year.
Pray for our mission and missionaries in Haiti as they continue to be allowed no visitors or travel due to civil unrest. These restrictions have been in place for a long time, and with an election coming up, they are likely to remain in place until at least 2022. Pray for the Hopps as they continue to faithfully serve in Haiti. May the Lord establish and prosper the work of their hands.
In all these things, we give thanks. We thank Him for each of you as you read these reports each month and give of your prayers, time, money, energy, and care. These are not small things in the kingdom of God.
We give thanks for our missionaries, sharing the Good News of Jesus to the nations of the world.
We give thanks for our Disaster Response volunteers who have given so much of themselves this year.
We give thanks for the presbyteries and churches of this denomination that seek to faithfully proclaim Christ in word and deed until He comes again.
And above all, we give thanks for Christ, the hope of nations! How desperately His world needs Him.