It is customary for essayists and journalists to write a year-end review or to make predictions for the new year. 2020 was a year that was difficult for many people. But how bad was it really?
One year saw a flood that destroyed the entire world except for Noah and his family and the animals on the ark. Now that was a bad year.
Other years saw wars and disasters, genocide and infanticide. And these things are still going on today. They are underreported since COVID is what sells this year. Wars still happen. Hurricanes, droughts, floods, volcanoes still happen. Whole peoples are being targeted and executed. And of course, we legally kill more babies now than at any other time in history.
Every day people are being murdered. Children are being raped. People are being attacked. These are bad things. The kind of things that used to be reported. The kind of things that go on every single day.
And then there are the good things. Babies are being born. People get married. Lives are being saved. The Middle East has seen historic peace treaties between Israel and four Arab nations thanks to President Trump. These are good things. The kind of things that used to be reported. The kind of things that go on every single day.
The point is that life goes on. And live will keep on going on until Jesus comes again and puts a stop to all our nonsense.
The only thing that will matter that day is if we are sheep or goats, wheat or chaff. You see, it doesn’t matter how many peace treaties we forge or how many lives we save. All that mattes is our relationship with Jesus.
To be sure we will have to answer for our foolishness and all the nasty sinning we did, but in the end will our name be in the Book of Life.
Even if we were to die long before Jesus returns, we will still have to answer the question: Who is Jesus to you? There is only one answer that will open the gates of paradise. And that is: Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
My Dad used to say that we’d be surprised by whom we see in heaven and who ends up in hell. For him, it was a matter of the heart. We can lie to others about who we are and what we believe. We can even lie to ourselves about these things. But no one can lie to God.
The Bible says that in the end, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Romans 14:11). But not every bowed knee or confessing tongue will be happy about it. The Bible also says that even demons know that Jesus is Lord, and they tremble in terror even while they continue to rebel against God (James 2:19).
Jesus says in the end, we all acknowledge he is Lord. Some with joy in our hearts; others with fear in their voices.
Jesus is the only one who can carry you through a year like 2020. He carried Noah in the ark. He carried the Jews in the wilderness. He can carry you through COVID. But the Lord is not deceived, and He knows His sheep, His true followers. Ask him. Seek him. Knock on his door and it will be opened. These are not my words. There are recorded in Matthew 7: 7-8.
How do you do this? First, repent of your sins. This means recognizing you are a sinner and want to turn away from your sins and follow Jesus. Second, ask for forgiveness and salvation. This means asking Jesus to forgive you and pledging allegiance to Christ. Third, get water baptized. This symbolically and spiritually ties you to the death and resurrection of Jesus and washes away your past life. Read the Bible and do what it says. Love others. Take care of those in need. Share the Gospel and the good news of salvation through Christ. Do this through words and actions.
2020 was not my choice of a year nor was it yours. Life is full of things we don’t chose. But we can always lift our eyes above the things of this world unto the Lord. And we always have that choice to have our names in the Book of Life.
Andy Becker is a pastor, retired counsellor and former CEO of a Hospice organization. Currently, his wife, Stella and Andy, lead both Lighthouse ministries and Bread of Life ministries in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.