Today is the first in a series called Lessons From 2020, where we asked our columnists to write about what 2020 taught them. You’ll see these articles throughout February, and we hope they inspire you to think about your own takeaways from last year.
Before I get into what 2020 has taught me, I want to thank each and every one of you for reading my thoughts and ramblings on the women of the Bible this past year. The feedback I’ve gotten has been more than I expected, and I truly appreciate that what I think God has revealed to me about these women has mattered to you. I’m excited for the women I get to talk about in 2021, as I have yet to get to Rahab or Deborah or Mary or the Book of Mormon.
It’s going to be a big year, I can already tell.
But anyways, my first thought for this writing assignment was to list all the powerful one-line lessons I’ve learned from the women of the Bible I’ve profiled throughout the year.
But that’s not really what 2020 has taught me.
As I thought about it more and reflected on my year, I realized something.
The pandemic aside, this year has been the most mentally and physically trying year of my life, and I underwent changes I never thought I would. And through all of that, I learned how to read the Word of God.
I grew up in a Scripture-reading home and went to a Scripture-reading school, so none of these stories or Scriptures that I studied this year were technically new to me.
But wow, did they feel like they were.
I have fallen in love all over again with the book of Job and I’ve really come to be obsessed with the book of Judges (as my branch’s Ladies Circle members will tell you).
The words on the pages have become incredibly real to me, and I’ve found myself running through my neighborhood thinking of them, which I, quite frankly, never thought I would do (both the running and the thinking).
But even more than learning to value Scripture, I realized something else this year.
And that is that God speaks.
Sometimes literally, yes. But on our bookshelves or nightstands or shoved in a box somewhere we have all the tools we need to listen to God speaking in the forms of the Bible and Book of Mormon. And it’s up to us to use them and use them well.
There have been a few situations in my life that have called for patience recently. (And if you know me, then you know that patience always has been and always will be my Achilles’ heel.) And there have been times that I’m sure that I’m supposed to do something or be proactive, but then I open up the Scripture and turn to a verse like James 5 and think, OK, God, I get it; be patient.
Quite frankly, being patient is the last thing in the entire world I want to hear.
But if that’s what God is saying, then that’s what I have to listen to.
I keep going back to Job and Judges this year, and we all expect God to speak to us in those soft, loving tones. And He does.
But sometimes we need the check that Job gets, the who-are-you-to-question-or-try-to-plan-around-me speech.
And most of the time, we need that.
What 2020 has taught me, and what I still haven’t mastered, is to trust the plan of the God who loves me, that I am safe and secure as long as I am listening to God speaking, even though there are times I’m literally chomping at the bit to do something and take matters into my own hands.
As I’m writing this, I’m inwardly groaning at the truth of it. More waiting, great.
But the greater truth is that God is present in our suffering and in our waiting. He’s present in those breakdown moments and those moments where you feel like everything’s alright.
He’s present through it all and He’s speaking through it all.
At the beginning of 2020, one of my branch ministers asked if we’re listening to what God is saying and my gut reaction was, Of course, why wouldn’t I be?
But there’s more to just listening; there’s the obeying part that makes it difficult.
So, yes, 2020 has been a nightmare and a blessing all wrapped into one and an emotional rollercoaster that I’ve felt unprepared for. And the prospect of changes in 2021 has my hands shaking as I write this.
But guess what?
God is speaking to you and me.
The God who knows the depths of the oceans and promised Abraham a great nation and gave and took from Job and saved Israel time and time again in the book of Judges is speaking to you and me.
I am an avid lover of history, and the more I’ve thought about how the God who chastised Sarah when she laughed is speaking to me makes my knees tremble.
This is the same God who loved her enough to give her a son and who loves me the same.
And He is speaking.
I don’t think I can accurately portray the conviction I have behind this statement, and I hope that each one of you understands it. God is speaking to us, and sometimes it’s so quiet we ignore it and sometimes it’s blatant and in our face.
But He was speaking last year, and He is certainly speaking this year.
What About You?
How did the Lord speak to you in 2020? Leave a comment and tell us about it.
To Be Continued on Feb.16
Due to the Church website redesign finalization, we won’t be publishing any new blog articles next week, but we’ll be back before you know it. Lessons from 2020 will continue on Feb. 16 with our next post by Sister Natalie Shawver.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.