Well, in a couple of days we will close the book on 2020. I will admit, I usually don’t give a new year much thought beyond making sure I write the correct year on some document for the month of January, but I won’t be very upset to see 2020 in the rearview mirror. It has been a challenging year on many levels. So this came as a shock to me this week… I am grateful for the trials of 2020.
Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not grateful for the sickness, death and financial hardships that so many have faced, but I am thankful for the opportunities that God has given me to grow in my faith. I am grateful for the personal life-lessons that God has… and is… teaching me.
Usually, I am pretty confident when making leadership decisions, but this year has taken my dependence upon the leading of the Holy Spirit to a whole new level! In the past, I had to make decisions over the safety of my students in youth ministry, but those choices usually involved selecting a safe environment for a mission trip or enforcing rules to protect them. My decisions never really had the potential impact of affecting the health of the entire group… until this year.
You see, personally, I am a risk-taker. Always been one. I’ve always been one who has said, “Hold my sweet tea” when someone says that something can’t be done. And I will admit that from time to time I have paid the price for the risk. A few stitches here… a broken bone there… a 4×4 truck owned by my college and borrowed without permission buried in mud 6 miles from the nearest road… (that will have to be a story for another time). But the risk was always to ME and not someone else.
COVID-19 has forced me to lean on the providence of God, because containing a micro-virus within our church population is above my pay grade. So… I’ve prayed… I’ve trusted… I’ve pleaded… and I’ve expressed gratitude often to our Heavenly Father. Some might say that our church has taken some risk over the past months by meeting together, and perhaps there is some truth to that… but I am grateful for God’s provision in protection.
James wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV The biggest life-lesson that God has taught me this year about faith is that it is one thing to trust God with my own life… but when I have to trust Him with the lives of others… that is a whole different ballgame. But God is good… He has been faithful… and He is in complete control. Well that is my faith growth story, what is yours?