My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:15-16
On the eve of a new year, we face blank calendars. We may have filled in some dates, but they’re probably written in pencil. So much we don’t know—it’s difficult to plan. And before entering the new year, more than ever, we need to reflect on the passing year and the pandemic. We don’t want to waste valuable learning experiences.
What can we learn from lock-down, social distancing, and how often we’ve had to wash our hands in the presence of an unseen enemy?
As I reflected on what I’ve learned, I thought of three categories: time, relationships, and faith in God.
First category, our time. God wants us to give him our schedules. We need to find what he’s ordained for us from before we were even born. We must weed out what’s not of eternal value. Like the man in Jesus’s parable (Luke 12:17-20), many have been busy building bigger “barns”: bigger houses, jobs that have bigger salaries but consume more of our time. We’ve found that bigger is not always better.
Second, our relationships. We’ve learned that we must sacrifice in-person time spent with vulnerable people so we may have many years with them later. We’ve discovered new ways to show love and kindness to others. It hasn’t been easy. I was able to expand my gift of hospitality by sharing part of the free turkey from my grocery store with two women who lived alone. One of the women was giving a virtual ladies’ luncheon with a few friends. The other planned to share with her two neighbors.
Third, our faith in God. Even in our darkness, pain, fear, and loneliness, God knows what’s happening. He’s with us, he’s providing what we need most, and he’s at work in our lives (Psalm 139:7-17). The worldwide pandemic has shown us what’s a religious habit and what we really believe. We’ve become aware that this day may be our last day on earth.
Don’t be afraid to tell God what you’re feeling—even if it’s anger or doubt. He already knows. Moreover, he’s waiting to reassure you of his presence and his great love for you.
What can we learn about giving our schedules to God in James 4:13-17? How do you plan to change your schedule for next year?
A lament is more than a complaint. It’s a cry to God describing the situation, including a confession of sin and repentance or innocence, acknowledging trust in his presence, and a request or praise. See Create A Lament for an explanation and a form to use to create your own lament.
One way to keep track of lessons learned is to keep a personal journal. If you haven’t tried this, now’s a great time. On days when you have no comment, read old entries. For ideas on how to begin and succeed see http://wp.digdeeperdevotions.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Starting-a-Personal-Devotion-Journal.21.pdf
Nancy J. Baker