As we look back on a year nearly gone, we realize that 2020 has, frankly speaking, not been the best year in history. Covid-19 has turned the world upside down, upset our daily routine, and torn apart our plans for the year. Worse still, Covid-19 has disrupted the church’s plans and activities, and also our ability to congregate together in the building. Nevertheless, I believe that there is still much to be thankful for as we reflect on a turbulent year past.
1. The World Has Not Yet Ended
Although Covid-19 has been a world-wide pandemic, almost apocalyptic-like, the world has not come to an end. There are some who see Covid-19 as a sign that Jesus’ second coming is drawing near. However, we know from the Bible that there will be no signs that will inform us of Jesus’ second coming; rather, Jesus will come again like a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10). When Jesus does indeed come again, it would most certainly be the end of the world and Judgment Day (2 Peter 3:10; Acts 17:31).
This is not to say that we do not look forward to Jesus’ coming again. However, we can be thankful that we still have time to make ourselves prepared before God. God has so far delayed Jesus’ coming in order to give men ample time to repent (2 Peter 3:9). By the time Jesus comes again, it would be too late for us to repent, and Jesus warned that many will not be ready for that day (Matthew 24:36-39). Hopefully we have used this time that God has given to us to make ourselves right with God!
2. There Is Still Opportunity to Serve God
As long as the world has not ended, there is always opportunity to serve God. Yes, Covid-19 has caused many church plans and activities to be cancelled, in addition to the many restrictions that have resulted in much inconveniences in gathering and being involved. However, the example of the early Christians reminds us that our ability to serve God should not be hindered by our external circumstances. Indeed, despite the persecution that the early Christians experienced, they persevered in preaching the gospel everywhere they went! (Acts 8:1-4). Hopefully, Covid-19 has not killed our desire to serve God!
Furthermore, this pandemic has opened up different doors of opportunity for the Lord’s work to be done. For example, the acceptance towards online meetings have opened up opportunities for bible studies to be conducted with lost souls. Also, the pandemic has caused many to be lonely, to suffer, and to be discouraged. This presents an opportunity for us to exercise true religion, which is to visit those who have been afflicted (James 1:27). Where darkness lingers, the light of God needs to shine! (Matthew 5:16).
3. There Is Hope for Tomorrow
Covid-19 has dragged on for a long time. It’s been nearly a year, and although we are thankful the situation in Singapore has improved, countries around us are still struggling to keep the virus under control. The end seems to be a long way off, and resuming normal church services does not appear to be happening anytime soon. Nevertheless, things have be looking up, with Phase 3 starting soon, and the vaccine having been made available.
For Christians, we have a hope within us that keep us going even through the darkness times. We have a hope in God’s promises like an anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19). We know the promises of God, that He will always be with us and protect those who put their trust in Him; we are not alone! (Romans 8:28). Most of all, we have a hope of a better life after this temporal life on earth, and it is our deepest desire to be finally reunited with God in His heavenly abode. Therefore, in the midst of this pandemic, though we have been troubled on every side, we are not distressed nor in despair, because God has given to us an immense hope through Jesus our Lord (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
2020 may have been an awful year, but for the Christian, there are yet many things to be thankful for. Hopefully we have learnt the important lessons from this past year, and we now look forward to a new year ahead.
May 2021 be a blessing to everyone, and a new opportunity for us to serve God with renewed vigour!