What if 2021 is just like 2020? What if all the disappointments from this year are simply compounded?
What if we have to go another year without that conference, concert, vacation, or graduation party?
What if 2021 isn’t everything we hope it will be?
I’ve talked about contentment before. We keep trying to find satisfaction in the wrong things. The only place we can find true contentment is in Jesus.
But what does that look like? And how can we be content if we have to endure another year of disappointments?
No More Complaining
Paul says in Philippians 2:14-15 that as believers we are to “[do] everything without grumbling or disputing, that [we] may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom [we] shine as lights in the world…”
When something goes wrong, our instinct is to complain.
Seriously? We have to keep wearing masks?
It’s snowing again. Wonderful.
I have so much homework it’s not even funny. And my professor still hasn’t answered my question from last week.
We whine and moan about everything that inconveniences us. It could be a serious issue or that papercut we got hand sanitizer in.
The world, and many Christians, spent 2020 complaining.
But we are supposed to be “lights in the world.” When we face frustrations and disappointments, our response should stand in stark contrast to the world’s.
Rejoice With Thankfulness
What should our response look like?
“Rejoice always…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18)
Thankfulness and rejoicing are closely connected. When we give thanks, we are rejoicing in what the Lord has done for us.
After a year like 2020, there doesn’t seem like there is much to rejoice over.
When times are tough, we have to dig deeper than the usual things we are thankful for. That’s not to say that family, friends, a warm house, and food are not good things to be thankful for. But what if all those things were taken away? Could you still be thankful?
We have many things to be thankful for that can never be taken from us.
“It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God’ we have waited for Him, that He might save us. This is the LORD’ we have waited for Him, let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.’” (Isaiah 25:9)
“Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD, exulting in His salvation.” (Psalm 35:9)
The presence of the Holy Spirit
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:26-27)
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)
The hope of Jesus’ return
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)
The faithfulness of God
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him.’” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
I love the end of the book of Habakkuk. The prophet says:
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength: He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
In essence, Habakkuk is saying if everything he relies on for stability falls away, he has a firm foundation in the Lord that will never crumble. We as Christians should have the same outlook for 2021.
Let me leave you with one final verse: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12