Has there ever been a 12-month period like March 2020 to March 2021? I’m sure there has. In other places of the world hardship on a country-wide scale is common. In those places the search for toilet paper has never been an issue. But for us, these last 12 months have been extraordinary. It would be bad enough if it were just the pandemic, or just the political division, or just the racial stress, or just…well, you get the idea.
For me personally, other factors have contributed to a year I will always remember. This week I will celebrate my 50th birthday, on the one-year anniversary of my Daddy’s death. I am approaching the one-year anniversary of being laid off from a company I gave 14 years of my life too; I have never known the financial uncertainty my family has seen since April 2020. Also, during this time my maternal grandmother died, and Amy was hospitalized due to complications from kidney stone surgery. Then she faced radiation to treat her brain tumor which had grown back.
My first two grandchildren were born in July and August of 2020, with Eden being born on August 24, my Daddy’s birthday. The reduction of activities of the last 12 months has produced a time of unprecedented quiet in our lives. So many distractions and demands on our time have simply disappeared, resulting in growth as a family. And, most wonderful of all, God has shown Himself time and time again to provide for our every need.
Never have I seen so clearly the importance of contrast.
One definition of contrast is, “comparison of similar object to set off their dissimilar qualities.” This blog post is an example of contrast. The text is one color and the page another. The greater the difference, the easier the text is to read.
Our lives need contrast to see God’s hand at work.
The darker our days, the more obvious God’s hand. Honestly, I wish it were not that way. I find myself aligning with Peter when he saw Jesus transfigured. I would like to just stay on the mountaintop with Jesus and never come down.
But life happens in the valley. Our faith is proven in the struggle. Psalm 98:1 says, “Sing a new song to the Lord, for He has performed wonders; His right hand and holy arm have won Him victory.” “Victory” implies a struggle. It is impossible to declare a victory unless there is something to be overcome.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul tells how God gave him a “thorn in the flesh” to prevent him from exalting himself. In verses 8-10, Paul says,
“Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I do not know whether the last 12 months have been a “thorn in the flesh”. But, I do know the struggles of the last 12 months have driven me to God. And in Him I have found rest and peace that were neither logical nor reasonable. I have seen His strength more clearly because my own weakness has stripped away my pride and self-reliance. I have seen God move, repeatedly, for my good and the good of my family. I thank God for the last 12 months. Without them, I would know Him less.
For any who read this, please understand, this post is not about me. I am as broken and faulty as anyone. But God is faithful. God is good. And I believe we need to bear testimony of His goodness in our lives. The praise and honor are His alone.