Anyone else tired of hearing phrases like; we must pivot, a new normal, adapt, virtual, put your mask on, take your mask off, let me take your temperature, or it’s been a strange year? Yea, me too. We have all used these phrases in some way or another over the past seven months as this pandemic has littered our news feeds, our televisions, and our daily lives. There is no doubt that this pandemic has altered lives, families, and businesses forever. Families have buried loved ones, spouses have watched, via Facetime, as their loved ones struggled in the hospital, and some businesses have closed forever. Sure, there has been a great deal of negativity, hurt, and chaos over the past few months, but today I want to point us to some good news in 2020, or, dare I say, HOPE in 2020. 

I have had a lot of time to think and reflect over the past seven months. During this time of reflection God has consistently reminded me of His goodness and sovereignty in calmness and in chaos. This gentle reminder has brought peace over my soul as I am reminded that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…I love Psalm 46 for a number of reasons, but mainly that first line. That the God of the universe cares enough about me to be my refuge and my strength in times of trouble. There is hope for you today. We know turmoil and chaos will come and go, but God remains steadfast in His love and care for us. I pray we would let that truth marinate in our souls. 

In light of that Psalm and our current national environment, I want to now point out some areas where hope is found today…even in the midst of pandemics, elections, and Supreme Court Justice nominees. I think we can all admit that these difficult times can take a toll on one’s soul. It’s exhausting, isn’t it? It feels like this year has had a little bit everything to bring about some of the most uneasy times in our communities and our nation. I feel like everyone is on edge and waiting to step over. Have you sensed that? Maybe, you see the edge in your own life and you are watching your toe inch ever so closely to falling off that edge. I get it. I have been there. This is why I deleted Twitter and recently deleted Facebook off of my phone. I sensed that toe of mine inching and, at times, sprinting to the edge. This isn’t sustainable. This mindset is detrimental to our health, our family, and our relationships. We were created for something far greater than nail biting at every headline that comes our way. 

It was this conviction in my own life that God, I believe, told me to look up and around. You see, when my head is down looking at a screen I am missing the hope around me. Some have argued that 2020 is a wash and needs to meet a quick death. I would caution you in making that assessment. For someone, 2020 is a wedding anniversary. That’s right, someone made a covenant to their spouse this year smack dab in the middle of a pandemic. For someone else, 2020 was the year the prodigal returned home, beat an addiction, or made a simple phone call home. For others, this was the year the Lord showed up and saved their lives for eternity. I have no doubt that 2020 was the year someone got the call from a doctor telling them that their scans were clear and they are officially cancer free. You see, there is much to hope for even when things look pretty bleak if we would just be willing to look up and take a second look. 

At HOPE we have had to adapt and overcome just like everyone else in 2020, but this hasn’t changed our mission. Sure, our protocols and days may look a little different, but the work continues. Our doors have remained open and we have been a witness to moms seeing their baby for the first time, dads fighting back tears of joy as they come to grips with their new reality, and lives spared because HOPE was just a phone call away. 

It’s easy to pile onto a year that has seen so much turmoil. I know because I have done my share of piling on, but let me encourage you today, or even challenge you, to make the choice to look up and recognize all the God sized goodness that is still occurring in our midst. Meditate on those truths today as you seek to love and care for those around you. I promise, if you spend your time in that type of mindset you will never regret it. Love better today than you did yesterday and acknowledge our refuge and strength is found in the God of the universe. Thank you for loving us at HOPE and for caring for those we have the pleasure of serving. 

posted by Andrew Wood, Executive Director