Happy New Year. Those words may have never seemed so welcome in the history of all of humanity. We are so grateful to put 2020 behind us. It was truly a historic year of trials, troubles, conflict, division and uncertainty. So many had started the year with a hope for 2020 Vision — fresh vision. Instead it became a year of clarity. Many of the faults in our foundation were exposed and revealed.

We were able to see how clearly weak we actually are. Spiritually, I feel much of our weak faith and spiritual life was exposed. As the pandemic limited in person worship, some thrived in prayer and worship. Many admittedly drifted along without much fire in their bones. The pandemic exposed our lack of trust in authority. It became clear we did not have an agreed upon source of trusted information as so many theories were floated and teased out. It is clear there is deep mistrust in our nation.

We saw a clarity in relationships. Are we really connected with others or not? Did we stay connected in community, or did we isolate and fall apart? For some, the gained new clarity on how busy their life had become and finally had a chance to slow down. COVID interrupted our busy schedules with lots of empty and open spaces on the calendar.

What became clear in your heart during this season? What was revealed in you that was not good? Did you see any character flaws and sinful attitudes with fresh eyes — pride, anger, impatience, criticalness, judgmental, prejudice, fear, anxiety, etc. Moments of crisis can help create and change our character, but first they often reveal what is already there. I saw numerous areas of my own heart that are broken and in need of repair. Hopefully, this season was an opportunity for you to see areas for needed growth.

This season could have also revealed some areas of strength and competency. Some saw a unique ability to pivot and change — creating new strategies for their life or business in all the change. Some found a deeper strength than they realized. Many went deeper in their prayer life with God during quarantine. Lots of others rekindled their marriages or family relationships and rhythms in this season. Like any season, there was much good and much in need of change. 2020 just seemed to magnify all of these issues and accelerate growth in us or expose the depth of the cracks in our hearts and lives.

Well, the Lord has been with us through it all. He is faithful. I am so thankful for His grace and power that has sustained me, and you. We made it. We are not out of the woods. We have had the privilege though of living through one of the darker and harder times in recent American history. It is easy to complain, but what if we saw the real privilege God has given us to live and breathe for such a time as this. The needs are great, and the opportunity if before us.

So, in closing as we wrap up 2020. What are your “take-aways” and “leave behinds?” What do you want/need to leave behind in 2020? Maybe it is an action, attitude, relationship, or wrong way of thinking/believing. For me, I want to leave behind my old fears — fear of failure, fear of the opinion of others. I more than ever feel the Lord giving me grace to let go and leave behind the roots and stronghold these fears have had in my life. By God’s grace, I will leave them behind in 2020. What are your “take aways?” What do you want to take with you heading into the New Year — a new way of thinking, a new area of character growth and transformation, a new habit. For me, I want to take away “faith” from 2020 into the new year. I have learned greater faith in this season. God is absolutely reliable as we seek him. I want more faith, more love and kindness, more fearlessness and boldness. These are things the Lord has been stirring in my heart in this season. I do not want to leave them behind, but want to carry them forward and go deeper with in the New Year. Lord by your grace, help me to grow in the areas of faith, love and kindness, fearlessness and boldness. I ask this in Jesus name. And that’s the Word.

The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at david@sscommunitychurch.org or 634-2960.

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