Why are you in despair, O my soul?
Why have you become restless and disquieted within me?
Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 42:11 [Amplified Bible]
Whew. That's about all I can muster about the year 2020. Before the stroke of midnight on December 31, 2019, there were a plethora of new year quotes and sayings about vision: 2020 was to be the year of 20/20 vision. As we settled into this new year, everyone had high hopes of seeing clearly; getting their lives on track, finally seeing the need to eradicate those extra pounds forever, paving a way to a debt-free lifestyle and the list goes on and on, I'm sure. Yes, this new year had just as much freshness, hope, and promise as each year that preceded it We settled into January. We got our footing in February, but before March could hit midway, we were hit with a global pandemic that would rock our world and make this year of vision one that we would surely discuss for generations to come. Life, as we had been practicing, had come to a sudden stop and we scrambled to make sense of this "new normal." It was not exactly the vision we had imagined. COVID-19. Pandemic. Quarantine. Social Distancing. Remote Learning. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Shelter in Place. No vaccine. And just when you thought this was a lot to deal with, then came the murder of George Floyd, which further tore off the bandaid that was hanging on for dear life over the heart of a nation, exposing the cancers that have existed for decades. In the midst of the Pandemic (Pandemonium) came the rallying cry against police brutality, injustice, and systemic racism nationwide and the poison of those wounds oozed out into the streets across the nation. Let's recap: COVID-19. Pandemic. Social Distancing. Remote Learning. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Shelter in Place. No vaccine. George Floyd. Brianna Taylor. Arrest the police. #BlackLivesMatter. Defund the police. Presidential election. Democrats vs. Republicans. Peaceful protests. Riots. Looting. Whew.
Some times you have to do exactly as the psalmist has done in this Psalm - tell your soul not to despair! Only God can quiet down our countenance in the midst of dire circumstances!
Nope. Not exactly the vision we imagined. Although I have personally lost people close to my heart this year, (including two men who were the only father figures in my life), although I didn't get to finish teaching my 7th-grade class in-person this year, although I've only been out of the house probably about 5 times since March 10th because I don't want to risk catching COVID-19 and transmitting it to my 70 yr old mother who struggles with COPD, I STILL HAVE HOPE.
I am crazy enough to hope in God when everything around me suggests otherwise. Some times you have to do exactly as the psalmist has done in this Psalm - tell your soul not to despair! Only God can quiet down our countenance in the midst of dire circumstances! I choose to wait on Him, I choose to "yet" praise Him! It may, indeed, seem bleak and dark and scary and uncertain! But He is a mighty God and Nothing, NO THING takes Him by surprise. He sees and He knows and He has me and He has you in mind!
It has not been easy. It has been disheartening. Don't succumb to the hopelessness.... tell your soul to quiet down, continue to hope in Him, and "WAIT EXPECTANTLY for Him." It might not be the vision story we imagined we would promulgate this year, but He is the help of our countenance and He IS our God. Take this moment in HIStory to see God move in mighty ways despite everything that is happening around us. Hope. Wait. Praise.