2020 was a year of loss and hurt for most people. Between the pandemic, the economy, job loss, illness, and the inability to see loved ones, 2020 was a mess.
As believers, we cling to the fact that God is in control. Everything that enters our lives passes through the fingers of our Lord. So what are we to learn from the pandemic and its impacts?
It seems many people believe when the calendar flips to January 1, 2021, all will return to “normal.” At the risk of seeming negative, I think we must seek a new normal. The current generation of 2, 3, 4, and 5-year-olds have been taught not to touch each other, share toys, or sit with each other. They have been taught hugging is not a good idea, nor is touching others at all.
I am not saying I disagree with what we have to do as we battle a pandemic, but it does indicate possible future tendencies of that generation. This was not just one country of kids taught this, but the global population of kids. What does this mean for these future leaders? This remains to be seen.
We have re-wired ourselves and our children to not touch or hug, except certain people that are “safe.” There are people that have not felt human touch in almost a year. For some, they are grateful to be left alone. For others, it is a struggle. Humans are created for touch. We are created to love each other and comfort each other. There are so many verses that command us to love each other. Here are just a few:
“This is my command: Love each other.”
John 15:17 NLT
“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Romans 12:10 NLT
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.”
John 13:34 NLT
“We love each other because he loved us first.”
1 John 4:19 NLT
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”
John 15:12 NLT
“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”
1 John 4:11 NLT
“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.”
1 Peter 3:8 NLT
We have a choice, as a nation and as a people. Do we invest our time and energy into arguing about masks, politics, and myriads of other things or do we follow the Bible and love each other?
I do not have to agree with you to love you. Jesus loved everyone, even those who murdered Him. He asked God to forgive them as they drained the blood out of our Lord and Savior.
“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.’ And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.”
Luke 23:34 NLT
That is our bar to strive for – love everyone. He loved those that caused His death and were gambling for His material possessions as He prayed for them to be forgiven.
Snow and I talked about grudges recently during a devotional. There have been many people who have inflicted or spoken hurt into our lives. We are faced with a choice, just like all believers, hold a grudge or love.
The way that God has taught me to release grudges, hurt, anger, or resentment is to pray for that person. Pray for the person to be forgiven and blessed. Regardless of your political affiliation or how you feel about wearing masks, pray. We need to pray for each other and we need to tell people we are praying for them. Pray for the future generations that are being taught not to touch. Pray for the neighbors and loved ones that are suffering from loss, loneliness, job loss or anxiety. Pray for them by name and tell them you are praying for them.
The great thing about God is that He always knows whom you are talking about. You can pray for the “lady down the street whose name I do not know” and God has her. He knows who she is and what she needs. Drop a note in her mailbox: “I am praying for you.” You do not need to sign it or even interact with her. This is a spiritual touch. We must find new ways to touch people to show love. Prayer is one big way. Telling people we are praying for them is another way to show love.
There have been many analyses over 2020 about what the world needs: Vaccines, herd immunity, economic recovery, and so on. We need prayer. We need to pray and tell people we are praying for them.
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT
The above verse tells us a list of things to do now and in 2021. For those of us who feel hurt, confused, or unsure about what to do – look to this verse and love.
Love however you can, whoever you can, whenever you can.
During this time of limited physical touch, we must find new ways to show love using technology, handwritten notes, or “smiling” with our eyes when our real smiles are hidden behind masks.
Be humble with those around you by showing patience, kindness, and sensitivity. If you have been untouched by the virus, praise God! Please keep in mind that most of the people around you have been touched by it in some way or other.
Instead of losing patience with people, pray for them. It takes literally two seconds to lift someone up: “Lord, I pray that person drives better” or “Lord, I pray that person becomes nicer.” Seek His face on their behalf and pray.