Last week I was having a casual conversation with a friend and they remarked, “I can’t wait for 2020 to be over, 2021 can’t come fast enough.”
I hear that sentiment repeatedly. 2020 has been a watershed year across the world. It appears as if a shift has occurred across society and throughout culture. Let’s assess the good and bad of 2020 before diving headlong into 2021. In last week’s post, I pointed out that 2020 was “the year of fear.” Stick with me as I wade through the muck and mire of the bad news – the good news will be worth it, I promise.
The Bad News
In America, we have experienced a virus emerge from a Chinese town that engulfed the world in a pandemic. We have seen major social upheaval along ethnic, academic, corporate and political lines. We have witnessed a heated presidential election that is still being contested. We see businesses, churches and other ‘non-essential’ entities shutdown while perfectly healthy humans (including small children) are forced to wear face-masks through unconstitutional mandates – enforced by fellow volunteer citizens who revel in public ‘face-shaming’ as their civic duty. Keep in mind, the human face is the primary means through which a human being reflects the image of God. If you want to degrade, humiliate and objectify another fellow image-bearer, force them and their children to cover their faces.
We have been taught that “loving your neighbor” actually means isolating yourself from your neighbors (and family). Furthermore, you must ridicule your neighbor for not wearing a mask, not towing the party line or not bowing to the woke mob. Apparently, “loving” has been redefined to mean coercing and shaming because in the new era of ‘social justice’ virtue signaling is far more important than actual virtue.
The new scientific orthodoxy has ‘proven’ that rioting and looting are ‘COV ID-safe’ but worshiping God and singing in public are deadly – that masks and social distancing work, until they don’t – that biological sex is fluid and Jeffery Epstein really killed himself (well, the science isn’t settled on Epstein yet)… But, working a ‘non-essential’ job to put food on the table is downright criminal.
Meanwhile, statistics have shown the two of the most life-threatening places in America are nursing homes in New York and pregnant mothers’ wombs – in a nation where people’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are ensconced in law and protected (unless you happen to be located in a womb in NYC, then not so much). Job numbers are down while depression, loneliness and suicides are up. Fact checkers can ‘fact check’ those facts – but facts are funning things in a world of relativism, ‘inconvenient truths’ and ‘settled science.’ And, if you don’t agree with the media narrative, you are given a heavy dose of a new drug called ‘Censorship.’ I think its imported from the CCP.
Finally, we are being reminded that God is on His throne, but you better get your COV ID vaccine just in case He isn’t. Many Christian leaders are living and preaching like nihilistic deterministic pagans with one life to live. Media propaganda echoes from many pulpits across the land as a new prophetic voice (divorced from the Bible and trafficking in falsehoods) runs off with the sexy little zeitgeist. Note bene: I said ‘many’ not ‘all’ because there remains a remnant of leaders and churches attempting to take a stand for truth and righteousness.
The Good News
(See ‘The Bad News’ section above but with a reclaimed, redeemed and restored Christian vision infused with grace).
This morning I was reading FW Boreham’s essay, “Catherine Booth’s Text” (1922). I reflected on the past year. What has carried us to the point that you are reading what I’m writing? The answer is, “GRACE!”
Catherine Booth was a spiritual titan of her time. She built her life around a single text, “My grace is sufficient for thee…” (2 Corinthians 12:9a). In his essay, Boreham beautifully describes how the realization of those six words transformed the lives and ministries of John Bunyan, John Wesley, Martin Luther, Catherine Booth, the Apostle Paul and countless others. He argues that we accept the first four words with ease – “My grace is sufficient…” but the last two are only realized in a deep moment of extreme need – “for thee.”
Boreham sharpens his point by saying, “It is always easier to believe that there is a Savior for the world than to believe that there is a Savior for me.” He continues, “Martin Luther believed and preached confidently that Christ died for all mankind, long before he could persuade himself that Christ died for Martin Luther. John Wesley crossed the Atlantic to proclaim the forgiveness of sins to the Indians; but it was not until he was verging on middle-life that he realized the possibility of the forgiveness of his own.”
Closing the chapter 2020 and opening 2021
Charles Spurgeon once said to his students, “There are many passages of Scripture which you will never understand until some trying or singular experience shall interpret them for you.”
If God’s grace was sufficient in 2020, do you believe His grace will be sufficient in 2021 and beyond? In 2020 perhaps you know and believe the first four words, “My grace is sufficient…?” Behold, the dawn of a new year is breaking before us! Just maybe in 2021, the last two words, “for thee” will with great power suddenly break upon you as they did for Bunyan and others.
What will 2021 be like?
I can say with confidence, it will not be anything like 2020. Why? Because God’s grace is sufficient for the world and you and me. Fear and despair cannot exist in the presence and fullness of God’s grace as darkness and cold cannot exist near the light and warmth of a fire.
If you go outside right now and take a several deep breaths would you fear that you would exhaust all of the oxygen in the entire atmosphere? Of course not! Then why would you believe the God who created the atmosphere and your lungs would not provide in Christ sufficient grace for you? There is to be taken a giant step from believing in the head to believing in the heart. Won’t you take it?
My Grace is Sufficient for thee… That means you and me!
I will close with some final words from dear Pastor Boreham, “For it is the glory of the grace that it takes what sadnesses there are and transmutes them into songs sublime.”
Take a few moments to ask God for His sufficient grace to walk into next year. Pray for a clear Kingdom vision, boldness and living faith that sheds the light of true hope in the world. God’s grace is sufficient for thee … for such a time as this.
By grace through faith in Christ alone.