Shonebarger

It was the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who coined the phrase, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Applying his measurement to our lives, the year 2020 should have made superheroes out of all of us!

Sadly, many of our friends, family and neighbors passed away this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a beloved great-uncle of mine (Daniel Corcoran) in Cleveland, Ohio. But here we are, together, at the end of an infamous year. We are still standing! We have overcome.

Resilience was one of the most imperative qualities needed in this year of survival. Consider, many people were sheltered in place, working from home or doing school work on a computer. Businesses were closed. Non-essential workers stayed home. Incomes ceased. Churches closed. Hospitals prevented visits. Jails and prisons prohibited family visits or volunteer services. There were shortages of supplies at our grocery stores. Unfortunately, people continue to be infected with the virus. We have become weary of a “new normal” imposed upon our way of life.

This year, our nation endured many struggles in national politics. We endured an investigation of Russian collusion involving President Trump, as well as Impeachment. We witnessed rioting and looting in several cities, protesting police brutality. This was an election year with many hotly contested races, including the one for the White House.

We will have a new President in January. More change could be in store for Americans. My reflection on the year that was, could continue with numerous additional examples. Nonetheless, you “get it.”

Pandemics, plagues and violence are not new to the human experience. Our nation has survived other crises and has come out well on the other side. In addition, the Bible reveals the trials and tribulations of women and men who were tested and tempted, but won tremendous victories through their steadfast faith.

The epistle of John reminds us, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (I John 5:4). Faith is the victory! Victory is a way of life for the Christian wholeheartedly surrendered to God.

Throughout our life’s journey, we are ascertained that God is in control. He alone is sovereign. He has a divine purpose in every circumstance. Wow, what tremendous peace this brings to a troubled heart. The Lord hears the prayers of His children and He is intent on answering according to His mercy and lovingkindness. There is no need to fret, to worry or to give up. God will show us His glory! God is rarely early, but He is always on time. What a blessed assurance.

While Friedrich Nietzsche implied resilience in his quote, there is a Biblical principle to glean. We are a work in progress; we are a lump of clay on the Potter’s wheel. It is the fiery crucible of life that tempers the clay (us), for use on the journey the Lord has set before us. Yes, 2020 has been a trying year. But, it has made many of us wiser, stronger, resolute and victorious. We are better people as a result of the struggle. We are overcomers. Faith wins.

The year 2020 will go down in my life as the worst, to date! I too, was stricken by COVID-19. However, a litany of issues that beset me were as a result of the consequences of other people’s missteps. An unfortunate fact of life is that we can be victimized by incidents beyond our control. In addition, I am reminded that life is not fair. Nonetheless, I have overcome by my unwavering faith in God. My experiences this year have been utilized by God to make me a better servant and a stronger spiritual leader. I am thankful for the lessons learned in 2020.

Together, let us look forward to a new year full of possibilities. Whatever lies in store, let us anchor our lives in the Lord Jesus Christ and overcome all obstacles by our unwavering faith in Him! Always remember, God loves YOU!

Contact Jon at jtshonebarger @gmail.com.

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