As we move into the middle of quarter one in 2021, I’m looking back on probably the craziest year since I’ve been alive. What can I take from everything that transpired? What did 2020 teach me that I can use going forward?
When I think back, I really don’t think 2020 taught me anything new. Outside of a few new terms — social distancing, coronavirus, mask-up — there wasn’t anything that was truly new and groundbreaking.
However, I think 2020 helped to emphasize some important teachings I already knew. Here’s my top three.
Trusting in the Lord leads to peace. Trusting in man leads to fear.
During the year, I never really feared what was going on. The “peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) was with me from day one when this new virus was first talked about. That’s all because of the Lord and trusting in Him. If I trust in man and don’t consult the Lord, or take man’s word over the Holy Ghost’s direction, there will inevitably be fear. Psalm 118:9 says, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Without the Lord, I cannot solve the challenges of the day, and I will be fearful of them. With Him, though, I can solve and accomplish the tasks at hand with humble confidence.
Fear leads to anger, and anger leads to hate. Love is the answer to these.
I saw a lot of fear in 2020 that manifested in a lot of hate and destruction. The only answer to these is love. Look at how Jesus lived His life. Did He ever get upset? Yes, with a specific example (found in all four Gospels) of when He confronted the moneychangers. However, He never hated anyone. Even those who would do Him harm, up to the point of putting Him on the cross, He never hated. He loved them so much, as well as us today, that He died for them — for us all. That’s how He conquered fear, anger, and hate, and it’s what He commanded us to do. Love people, and create opportunities for hearts to be touched and for the Spirit to be able to work.
Nothing can replace being with the Saints.
For the first time that I know of, our church buildings were closed indefinitely. Sure, there have been some closings here and there for remodeling work, weather issues, or some other temporary reason. But there has never been anything like this. Thank God, we have the technology that we do today. It enabled us to be together, at least somewhat. However, depending on what platform was being used, sharing testimonies was difficult, singing was almost impossible, and participating in communion and the other sacraments was completely impossible regardless of the app or website being used.
Being together is important. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Some branches have been able to reopen and, unfortunately, some haven’t. One thing is for certain — I sure can’t wait for the first conference after this is all over. It’s going to be really hard to get all of us to sit down to start the meeting, because we’re going to be spending so much time greeting and embracing one another.
So, there you have it, my list of things 2020 reinforced. What did it teach or reinforce for you? Leave a comment with your top spiritual takeaways.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.