During the GMBA Conference of November 2035, as I walk to the front of the room along with the other “seasoned saints,” I think, “What a nice term for ‘old’.” Why don’t they just say, “Hey, old people, crawl your way up, we’d like to hear from you. And don’t make it too long!”
As we take our places, I hear the usual whispers, “Dianne, get in the front. You’re short!” (Really? I didn’t know that.) Maybe I should tell them why they should stand in the back…
“Let’s sing an oldie but a goodie! How about ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus’?” I hear Brother Ken say from behind me. Standing in front of the congregation, I am suddenly brought back to my first GMBA campout in Lutherlyn, Pennsylvania, when I was 15 years old.
Many of the 15-year-old eyeballs staring up at us were born during 2020.
“That was the year that changed me and our world forever,” I think as my voice methodically sings,
“Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?”
My eyes well with tears as I think about 2020. As the opening line from the classic novel “A Tale of Two Cities” states, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness….”
It was the year I was set free from my prison called epilepsy, it was the year I lost my mom, it was the year we moved, and it was the year Covid ruled our lives.
“Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?”
I continue to sing as I look down at the tattered green hymnbook in my hands. I am suddenly so thankful that I am holding a book. For so many years, our hymn books stayed shut out of fear of passing the dreaded Covid-19 virus to each other. Trying to hold back my tears of joy, I think, “This is it! If I had a theme song for 2020, it would be “What a Friend!”
“Precious savior still our refuge,
take it to the Lord in prayer,”
“Sister Dianne, we’d like to hear from you,” says Brother Jim, pointing the microphone toward me. “What piece of advice can you give to our young people?”
Completely unprepared for this moment, I’m still thinking about how thankful I am for holding the book in my hands.
“I’m thankful to be here this evening and that God gave me the opportunity to attend this conference.” I say almost out of habit as I try to gather my thoughts. Taking a deep breath, I continue, “I know some of you in this room are 15 years old, which means you were born in the year 2020. I’m positive you’ve been told much about 2020. You’ve probably seen the memorials that have been built and heard the songs that have been written about your birth year. Even though your family may have lost people to Covid, you were born during a good year.
“It was a year of transition, and it was a year that taught me to depend on the Lord, more than I ever had before. Covid brought division and unity to the world. We were divided on how to conquer it and united that we would conquer it.
“So, tonight, my piece of advice is, whatever the issue, take it to the Lord in prayer. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because 99.9 percent of the time, it’s the only thing we can do.
“We have smart doctors who God blessed with the knowledge to develop a vaccine, which has allowed us to stand here shoulder to shoulder, but let’s not take that for granted. It’s hard for you to truly know what it was like to wear a mask whenever we were in public. At first, it felt suffocating, but we were trying to do what we could to protect ourselves and those around us.
“What we have to put on today is the love of Jesus. Carry it with you like many people carried their masks, and it will bless you and those around you.”
As I feel Brother Jim squeeze my hand, I know I’ve overstayed my welcome at the mic — and I have officially become a seasoned saint.
What About You?
What will you tell the next generation about 2020? Leave a comment and tell us.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.