As we approach the close of 2020, I feel that I am safe in saying that everyone of us had some unfulfilled plans or dreams for the year. I personally missed out of two bucket list items that I had long been anticipating. We may breathe a sigh of relief as the calendar turns from 2020 to 2021, but it may be futile. I wish I could give you better news but stepping into 2021 does not bring about an end to the events of 2020. COVID will not magically disappear at Midnight December 31. It will be with us into 2021.
But we do not have to let the continuation of the pandemic stop us. In fact, we should not let it stop us. No, we cannot move into the new year with a reckless disregard for COVID but we can move forward with our lives. Charles Swindoll once observed that often people will say something to the effect that “I’m doing well under the circumstances.” His response was “What are you doing under your circumstances? Get out from under them and make the most of your situation.” My wife suffered many years from rheumatoid arthritis. But the amazing thing about her was that she fought valiantly against this disease. She resolved that it would not stop her living to the best of her ability. She was always ready for a road trip and could outshop any of us. She moved out from under her circumstances. Despite her adversity, she lived a full life.
We need to remember that God is timeless. Our human minds simply cannot wrap our brains around this concept of timelessness. He created time for us. When we step into 2021 from 2020, that is nothing to God. From God’s eternal perspective, time is meaningless.
I am recovering from eye surgery and was discussing my progress and other matters with a friend recently. She commented “You have a terrific ‘can do’ attitude. Keep pushing through. You’ve got this!” I had never thought of it in those terms, but she is right. All my life I have set lofty goals and achieved many of them through my perseverance. I don’t always see the whole picture but friends, family, and God often help clarify issues for me and keep me on the right track.
I once was in a doctor’s office and the nurse was placing a band-aid on my shoulder. It was in an awkward position and wasn’t going to stay on. I asked if we could do it better. I loved her reply. She said “We can always do better.” Life won’t get her down.
As I was reflecting on this, Philippians 4:13 came to mind. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” I don’t think this means that we call on God and can do anything we concoct. But it does mean that we can accomplish whatever God calls us to accomplish. I once had an idea for a business. I talked with friends about it and they were encouraging, so I moved toward the formation of this business. It never got off the ground. Circumstances prevented it from happening as I had envisioned it. But I took this as a “teachable moment” and moved forward with a different perspective.
I think this scripture means that Christ will help us through the trials of this life. He gives us the strength to not only endure but to grow during them. We aren’t meant to just slog through the pain; we’re meant to see our faith blossom right in the face of our battles. We don’t name churches “Muddling Through Community Church,” but something like “Victory Church.”
Christ also gives us strength through a change in our perspective. In Philippians 4:12 Paul states “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” I’ll admit that I struggled with this scripture for years. I saw contentment as complacency. As a “Can do” person, I don’t like complacency. But that’s not what Paul is talking about here. Look at the first part of that scripture “I have learned the secret of being content.” That secret is the change in perspective that Christ brings us.
Finally, we can do all things through Christ because He gives us the victory. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Cor 15:57) Jesus died on the cross and conquered sin. He paid the price and we receive the prize of His victory.
That’s why we can do “All things through Christ.”