If there was one thing we could all agree about this year, it would be the monumental amount of disagreement this year.
What’s the only thing that has seemed certain this year? The abundant amount of uncertainty this year.
Indeed, this year has rivaled most in my short, forty-three on earth, and a part of me has desired to hide away in a storm shelter, waiting for the harsh winds of this season to pass. Whether you have experienced fear for your life in the face of a novel virus, or fear that your government is feeding you untruths about a virus, the fact is you’ve experienced fear. It’s easy to forget that fear often manifests in an apparently righteous anger, or in a quest to reveal the truth. Whether we’re enormously offended or staunchly standing for truth, it’s that thread of uncertainty for the future that drives the conversation. This year has rocked everyone’s foundation of security, and it’s ok to admit that. No matter how our response has manifested.
This has been more than just a year of isolation, though. It’s also been a season of unveiling. We’ve seen injustice come to light, but we’ve also seen the worst of humanity bubble to the surface. It seems that fear for the ugliness within ourselves can manifest in denial that a problem even exists. I think that’s been the hardest part of this year for me. Watching the compassion evaporate, and the selfishness multiply. Of note, I don’t exclude myself from this particular response to 2020. I certainly have dropped my basket of spiritual fruit multiple times this year.
I think the biggest problem this year, though, has truly boiled down to how we see, and how we hear. Do you remember the words of Jesus?
Matthew 13:13 This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
For a large part, as Christians we see and we hear, but only in part. Mostly what we see is of this world, and in actuality it should be the opposite. Most of what we see should be not of this world. We simply forget our heritage. We become so distracted by what’s in front of us, we forget what lies ahead. In this regard we place our hope mostly in the things we can see and touch, and not in things of above (and not below). The problem with this? We will always end up disappointed.
It’s like, if your hope for your marriage is in your spouse, they will fail you. Conversely, if you are counting on yourself to make it succeed, you’ll end up sorely disappointed. Our hope for our relationships should always be on the One who created them, the One who models how we should maneuver through them, and the One who gives the best examples for how to love.
But, our eyes will only focus on the problems in our partner. Our ears will listen to the world for a solution. And then we wonder what happened to the healing.
If ever (in my lifetime) a year has shown us what happens when our senses are too in-tune with the world, and not enough in sync with Jesus, it’s been this year. So, when our eyes are seeing only the problem (and not the solution in Him), our ears are hearing the lies of this world (rather than the truth in Him), and our hope is in the solutions we can visualize with human eyes, we will end up extremely jaded.
Here’s what happens. We experience trials of this world, and we place our hope in the solutions this world offers. We put all our eggs in a political basket, or we place all our efforts into advancing a system of this world. We consider things like vaccines the only way to save us. We consider achieving civil justice the answer to broken human hearts, and while ending corruption is also God’s heart, it will not be the answer for a corrupt man. Changing systems, policies, and political parties will not heal the heart of mankind. We know this! We simply forget to proceed through life like we do.