2020 was rough. Like, really rough.
And not rough in the “Wow, that workout was hard. I’m going to be sore, but I think I’ll do it again in a couple weeks and see how it goes” sort of way.
More like, “Uh… what just happened? That was b-r-u-t-a-l. I never want to go near that workout ever again. Ever. Who thought this was a good idea? I feel awful. Exercise is now ruined. I might be able to muster the strength to take a stroll… to the mailbox… on Thursdays. Otherwise, I’ve had enough.”
I get all that. In fact, in the coming weeks, I’ll be writing about some personal hardships we’ve had to endure in addition to all the COVID, Zoom, lockdowns, riots, elimination of March Madness, political unrest, masks, vaccines, toilet paper shortages, family gathering limitations, income loss, and everything else we’ve all had to endure. Yes, we know all too well how ugly 2020 was. We too are happy it is behind us.
But the unfortunate reality is, we have no reason to think 2021 will be better. We assume it will be better simply cause 2020 was so bad. I mean seriously, surely 2021 won’t be that bad. History won’t repeat itself so quickly… will it? Tell me it won’t!
Not to be a downer, but there’s no guarantee it will be better. Jesus quite literally told us in John 16:33, “In the world, you will have much trouble.” And He didn’t give us a schedule for trouble or a statute of limitations on it. He never said you can’t have miserable years back-to-back. He didn’t define when “much trouble” starts and stops. For all we know, the “much trouble” we experienced in 2020 could last years.
And to make matters worse, we aren’t living in unprecedented times, as much as you hear it said that we are. They’re have been far worse pandemics. Much greater civil unrest. Incredible isolation and wage uncertainties. There was even a time where there was no such thing as two-ply! So, as bad as things are, it can get worse.
The truth is, “much trouble” might just be warming up.
Sheesh. Thanks for the encouragement Pryor!
You’re welcome. But I’m not going to leave you hanging.
Well, more specifically, Jesus isn’t going to leave you hanging. How do I know? Let’s look back at that passage from John 16.
Jesus is preparing the disciples for His departure, telling them that having come to earth from being with the Father, He’ll now be leaving earth to return to the Father. In other words, He won’t be physically with the disciples any longer.
But verse 33 is bookended with two very important statements regarding peace.
The first is, “I have told you these things so you may have peace in Me.”
Not peace by being with Jesus. That can’t happen until we are in heaven again someday. But having peace in Jesus, in the truth of who He is and what He has done, having conquered death and giving us a path to life.
Verse 33 ends with, “But take hope! I have power over the world!” The NLT says, “I have overcome the world.”
In other words, “I’ve got this. I’m not scared. Nothing surprises me. My plans don’t fail. If I’m not worried, and I’m God, then you can have hope because you know me. And to know me is to know peace.”
So what if 2021 is even worse (gag!) than 2020?
What if a new pandemic emerges? If civil unrest multiplies? If politicians get even worse? If sports die altogether? If masks become permanent? If we are relegated to 1-ply? If jobs, health, and bank accounts fail us? I’ll tell you what happens.
Essentially, an even worse 2021 changes nothing about the character of God. Therefore, our confidence and peace can continue to rest in the truth of His love, if we allow it to rest there.
In fact, a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad 2021 would only give us another opportunity to grow in our faith.
I know. After 2020, who wants to sign up for more sanctification? It’s grueling, painful, and confusing.
But it’s also fruitful. Growing us. Refining us. Shaping us ever more like Jesus.
So take heart, but not in the prospect of a better 2021. Rather, put your hope and optimism in the peace of Christ, the companionship of the Holy Spirit, and the power of our God.
Fix your eyes on the author and finisher of our faith.
Ok. I know what you might be thinking, “What’s this post have to do with fitness or God honoring body stewardship?”
Nothing specifically. I could have shoe-horned in some fitness principles but I avoided doing so on purpose.
For some time now, I’ve been wanting to write more on faith principles not-specifically related to fitness. I’ve written a lot of Christian fitness and will continue to write on it. But my wife has encouraged me to not over-analyze, scratch the itch, and write where the Spirit leads me.
But rather than start at ground zero with a brand new website and zero web presence, I decided to piggy back on to Body Tithe University for now. These posts are in a different category and you’ll soon be able to subscribe to any or all posts based on category.
It is just easier, quicker, and cheaper to use the existing platform we’ve created.
And after a rough 2020, I’m giving myself some grace for taking the path of least resistance. I hope you’ll give me some grace as well and stick around for the ride.