We will hear it a lot in the next few days…2020 was a hard year.
And it was.
2020 will be forever marked with some terrible statistics which (tragically) are a neighbor’s personal story and some of us are gone too soon. If we fail to acknowledge that to us what might be a twisted headline is someone else’s personal pain then we aren’t really living to love others.
And maybe that’s not all we have failed to be sensitive to because in the midst of a global pandemic, racial inequity, and political divides there are also painful things that came through our lives regardless of how much of a “dumpster fire” this year was already
In the midst of grief, pain, uncertainty and trials also came a lot of perseverance, grace, love, kindness, affection, renewal and redemption.
We have to be able to hold both.
I talk about this so often with my life coach (it feels funny to say, but I love her!), this idea of holding both sadness and joy, the hard and the holy. And I personally hate the idea. I would love it if I can just be happy all the time and hopeful and optimistic and positive.
One day there will be no pain, no tears, no division, no death, and yet we can still live in the now. There is still good in the now. There is still hope in the now.
Maybe it’s just my personality, which is funny to be a worry wart with an eternal optimist’s spirit, but it’s how I live and breathe. I don’t think I could survive or (our favorite 2020 word) PIVOT, or be able to dream if I didn’t believe that I can hold both and hail for hope.
If I believe that all hope is lost, then what am I living for?
I usually believe that there is ALWAYS a chance. ALWAYS a possibility.
There is ALWAYS something beautiful that can be done.
There are ways to survive that will be hard but worth it.
One day things will go back to normal. They will.
So how do we simultaneously do this?
How do we hold this hope for heaven but also wring out and enjoy every day and be the best depiction of Jesus we can on earth?
Because this time isn’t wasted.
Just because our life will be short through the lens of eternity doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t care or give up or become complacent. It doesn’t mean that it’s pointless to dream or create or to leave things better than we found them.
We should live with a sense of calming urgency, a sense of simple gratitude, a sense that our lives and what we do with them probably matter way more than we know. We should know that how we interact with each season of our life has great purpose, and maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to wish it away.
I also have to be careful to not pretend like I know everything there is to know. I have to be willing to change my mind, but also know that it is not my job to change others. I have to lean away from the desire to please people and simultaneously see and validate their worth and value.
I have to be careful to not do anything with the motivation of earning something from God or that He will be more in favor of me if I do all the things I think He wants me to. The truth is, He loves me without me having to earn a thing. He loves you too. If something is going poorly in your life, it doesn’t mean that when you pray about it then it will turn around. God doesn’t work like that.
He does it better.
Out of selflessness, not because we did anything to earn it, He sent His Son into the womb of a virgin, to save us from every dark, hard, and horrible thing that could ever hurt us. He was a gift, and He still is today.
Sometimes that looks like immediate relief or answers to prayerful petitions.
Sometimes that looks like that the world leaves a gap for us to fill with either hope or despair.
His generous gift and invitation to have Him accompany us through life means that regardless of the outcomes to our current situations, He will hand us hope and promise us He will make all wrong things right one day.
His invitation doesn’t have a deadline to RSVP.
His invitation doesn’t have a checklist in order to reply “Yes”.
He is generous and kind and He wants good things for those He loves. He does it better than we could finitely think.
His heart breaks with us in the reality of this year. He didn’t wish it upon us. He isn’t punishing us. He is weeping with us, carrying us, and sustaining us.
He reminds us to keep creating, keep dreaming, keep putting out the positive fruit of our lives into the world without it being polished.
Sometimes when we do that, that is how He hands hope to His kids who really need it. He gave us each other even though He is enough.
What a gift.
He sweeps in with a thrill of Hope, reminding us we can hold both.