2020 began with possibilities of a New Year. The Christmas lights faded as streamers and confetti hung in the air with a dream of something new within grasp. New Year’s resolutions documented for all to see as fad diets and packed gyms became our new social post. 2020 was marked as a new era, the Prophets exclaimed that God was doing a new thing. Our vision boards were packed with new jobs, ministries, vehicles and houses. The hope for couples desiring to be parents and the anticipation that seeking singles would finally find “the one” felt within reach. Each of our dreams sang a song as the New Year bells rang, “It’s 2020” we cried out as the beginning of a new era replaced one of old.
I don’t have to continue on for each of us to know that 2020 was not the year we expected nor wanted. 2020 became a dark clouded season for many, not only were dreams lost but also loved ones. I remember the feeling of despair that came over me as I listened to “If The World Was Ending” by JP Saxe as the snow continued to fall on that dark March day. The fighting, the fear, and the racism gripped all of our hearts as we tried to come to terms with this “new normal.” Some of us complied to mandates while others fought against them, holding on to what we perceived was the last of our freedom. Neither side was right, neither side resolved anything other than more fear and division. We turned on each other over night and kept those we loved at arms distance.
The fighting and the fear became our new normal and now as we enter yet another New Year of division, I can’t help but ask God what His thoughts are on this perceived fiasco. My Father, my Friend, my Savior answered me by first taking me through the scriptures in Numbers 1-12, the story of the Israelites finally reaching the Promised Land after 42 years of a desert journey that should have taken a month. Finally, Joshua and the younger generation following him broke through the cycle of unbelief as God in turn gave them strict instructions on how to possess the Promised Land. We love to talk about the Promised Land as if it’s the possession to obtain in our own lives, but I can’t help but ask the same question a mentor of mine asked me, “what if the promised land was the desert.” As I sat and pondered this I began to realize what she meant. The Israelites lacked nothing in the desert, they had food, shelter, and their sandals never wore out, but they strived for more, they strived for a life of security without risk, a life of complacency without faith. It took 42 years to get a slave minded man to begin to see himself as one who deserved such a place as the Promised Land. God knew that the Israelites would never stand a chance against the giants that awaited them with the mindsets that they carried. Trapped and Isolated as they were, He knew He needed a new breed of believers who would take Him at face value. Only a desert journey could condition a believer to obtain the mindset it would require to possess what awaited them; a generation that would believe the words spoken by the God of miracles and with Joshua’s guidance a younger generation did just that.
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, a new land was promised to them. A land flowing with milk and honey. As each of us enter a new year we expect by some miracle that our life will flow with provision and promises over night.
When the Israelites got to the desert and experienced a series of hardships, their faith was shaken and they wanted to go back to Egypt to die. When 2020 presented real challenges and heartaches many of us wanted to quit and give up.
Through every hardship the Israelites faced they had provision and care yet they still made a gold calf to worship. Through every challenge we face in our culture, we have had provision and care, yet we make idols out of churches, leaders, ministry, work and our family. We worship and rely on these idols for a feeling of peace that we are desperately searching for.
My friends, I hope you are getting my drift here, no New Year is going to establish whatever it is you are striving for or hoping to gain. Only removing your slave mentality and destroying the idols in your life can do that.
2 Corinthians 1:20 says “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
The promises are “yes” in Christ. This means we must find our yes in Christ the hope of glory, not in a leader, a vaccine, a job, a ministry, or our family. Christ then speaks “Amen” over our promises to the glory of God. Much of our mindset will change when we stop complaining and start praising the God of glory. I believe with you that those long awaited dreams and promises will come to fruition in your life in 2021, but our thoughts are not God’s thoughts and much of what we pray for is selfish gain. God does promise you health, financial blessing, a family, and long life of value, but these things must be used for His glory. The bible says that God will give you the desire of your heart, but it is crucial that those desires line up with His desires for us. God cares more about your character than your wants. He wants a relationship with you that produces a ripple effect to those you encounter every single day. When you begin to see life through the eyes of Christ, His desires will become your desires.
Despite the hardship that 2020 brought I am grateful for it, it shook many in the Body of Christ awake from their deadly complacency and brought many to repentance before the King of Kings. No virus, political agenda, or division can shake my King off of His throne. I trust what He is doing and I trust His process especially when my flesh doesn’t like it. It’s time to get a little uncomfortable and start asking God what He is doing instead of telling Him what He should be doing. Trust the process my friends, trust the journey, stop waiting for the Promised Land and start seeing what God is already doing in your life. You may be surprised to realize you are already living in the Promised Land because wherever God is, promises follow.