(By Michelle Snippe)
At last, we are well and truly finished with 2020. What a year it was! In so many ways it felt longer than a year, wouldn’t you say?
It didn’t go out with a bang or with fireworks. No big parties or gatherings with friends. Rather, its final hours slowly and quietly slipped away in a sort of disillusioning way, yielding to all the unknowns of another new year.
As much as I’m ready to leave it behind, the old year hasn’t left me yet. Its wounds and losses and hard things have left their mark. It has left me with more questions than answers. More longings than fulfillment. More hesitations than hopes.
And I’m not quite ready to evaluate it, nor am I eager to look into the future. Since so much uncertainty still remains looking into 2021, I’m feeling a little numb walking onto its first pages.
Maybe you are, too.
If ever there was a year to embark upon with hesitation, this is the one. The path ahead is clouded. Our plans and goals are all hanging in the balance. We’re holding onto all of our hopes and dreams a little more loosely than we typically would at the turn of a calendar year.
Yet interestingly, relative to all this contemplation, a couple of weeks ago, a question posed in an Instagram post caught my attention and has been on my mind often ever since. The author asked this,
“Which of the Bible’s promises do you find most encouraging as you leave behind 2020 and look forward to 2021?”
I had to pause over it, but it wasn’t long before my mind went to a verse in Isaiah I had found comfort in just a while before.
For you shall not go out in haste,
and you shall not go in flight,
for the Lord will go before you,
and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
My favorite translation of it is the Voice translation which reads,
Go in confidence and grace—no rushing, no frantic escape.
There’s no need to be anxious—the Eternal One goes before and behind you.
The God of Israel paves the way with assurance and strength.
He watches your back.
The Eternal One goes before.
This is the phrase that gripped me. It has held me, actually. And I’ve thought of it in this way: yes, our eternal God goes before me to lead and to guide. But, if He goes before, that means He’s already in the future. He’s there, ready to meet me in every one of the obscure moments ahead. He’s there. And not ahead of me by just by a day or two, but all the way to the end of my 2021.
And He’s there, in every moment of yours too.
January first doesn’t hold the power to change the trajectory of the year…only God does. But whatever He chooses to do or allow within it, we’ve got this promise to take with us:
The Lord, the Eternal One, goes before us.
And He paves the way with assurance and strength.
So, to 2020 I say goodbye. Thank you for the good things…for all that the hard things have taught me. And hello to all of 2021 no matter what you hold. I'm not worried about you because this I know: God is already there.