By Jenniffer Mann
2020 has been a year many of us the world over will never forget. Here is a snapshot of the year we left behind.
Some of the headlines read as follows:
- Duke and Duchess of Sussex Step Down As ‘Senior’ Royals
- World Health Organisation Announces Novel Coronavirus
- Trump’s Impeachment Trial Begins
- Kobe Bryant, Daughter Gianna and Seven Others Die in Helicopter Crash
- Sajid Javid resigns as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He is succeeded by Rishi Sunak.
- Trump is acquitted.
- A sample is taken from 75-year-old woman from Nottinghamshire, later identified as the earliest person known to have been infected by severe acute respiratory or Covid-19.
- Oh! And it was a leap year.
- Apple’s sales are so huge it takes less than an hour to recoup the €25m (£22m; $30m) fine imposed by France for deliberately slowing down its older iPhone models.
- Pandemic triggers global recession.
We read that:
- Despite rumours to the contrary Care Home deaths in the UK are set to overtake hospitals.
- We also learn that Kim Jong Un is alive and well.
- The death of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man gunned down and killed by two white men whilst he was jogging, unarmed, in a Georgia neighbourhood.
- This is the same month we read that George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.
- Grant Shapps announces that wearing face coverings will be made compulsory on public transport in England.
- Thousands turn out for continued anti-racism protests across the UK.
- Work begins on the Viking Link, a 475-mile submarine power cable between England and Denmark, set to become the world’s longest interconnector upon its completion in 2023.
- Boris Johnson announces further easing of lockdown restrictions, with plans for a “significant return to normality” by Christmas.
- The BBC ends free television licensing for the over-75s and Ronnie O’Sullivan wins his sixth world title in snooker.
- UK government debt is reported to be over £2 trillion.
- The majority of schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland reopen at full capacity and the new “rule of six” law comes into force.
- The UK records 6,634 new positive tests for covid the highest daily figure since mass testing began. Tragically, Sgt Matiu Ratana, a long serving police officer with the Metropolitan Police, is shot dead during an incident at a custody centre in Croydon, Surrey.
- The cumulative total number of COVID-19 cases in the UK exceeds half a million.
- Lewis Hamilton equals Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 for the most Formulat One Grand Prix wins. Boris Johnson tells the Commons there will be a new three-tier alert system for local authorities in England and unemployment reaches 4.5 per cent, as redundancies are reported to be at their highest level since 2009. Covid cases exceeds 1 million.
- The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak extends the government’s furlough scheme to the end of March 2021.
- Boris Johnson congratulates Joe Biden on being elected President of the United States.
- The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the UK exceeds 50,000 and the government orders five million doses of a new COVID-19 vaccine by American biotech company Moderna.
- A plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 is brought forward to 2030 under Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan.
- Rishi Sunak says that the “economic emergency” caused by COVID-19 has “only just begun” as the economy is forecast to shrink by 11.3% in 2020, the UK’s biggest economic decline in 300 years.
- The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, reveals to The New York Times that she had a miscarriage in July 2020, which caused her “almost unbearable grief”.
- So, we make it to December and read that 90-year-old British woman, Margaret Keenan, becomes the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 jab as part of a mass vaccination programme.
- The Supreme Court overrules the Court of Appeal ban on the development of a third runway at Heathrow Airport, allowing a planning application to go ahead.
- Silverstone Circuit announces the renaming of the “International Pits Straight” the “Lewis Hamilton Straight” after he won his seventh world title and broke the record for most wins.
- Boris Johnson announces a new ‘Tier 4’ lockdown for London and much of South East England.
Now these headlines are a mere fraction of those that we read about in 2020 and we would all be here significantly longer, if I attempted to name them all. “But Jenniffer!” I hear you say “Why on earth do you need to read out headlines from the the past 12 months?” In fact my niece said “Aunty, I don’t think you need to be so informative.” Well here’s the thing. I have summarised the past 12 months in about 5 minutes and although it’s true that I I didn’t need to recap these headlines, in the world of headlines 2020 represents catastrophes, triumphs, disappointment, frustration, losses, surprises, death, birth, sorrow, joy and so much more.
However, I have heard a large number of people say that they could not wait to shut the door on 2020! By and large, this has been because of Covid-19 and the negative shadow this has cast. This year has left it’s mark unlike no other in my lifetime but here is my personal headline for the year gone – “2020 Survivor” – despite everything that has happened, I am here to share with you, that we are in fact all survivors of 2020, for different reasons. Regardless of whether you believe the death toll cited by government statistics the truth is, many more people than anticipated lost their lives this year and in our rush to leave the year behind and wipeout the headlines of the past 12 months we need to be careful that we do not minimise every blessing we have received.
You may form part of that special group of people that has survived near or what looked like certain death. That health scare you have come back from. You may have lost your job but you have still found a way to meet your financial commitments. You may have suffered a miscarriage but have hope in what the future holds. It may be the you lost a loved one and the pain of loss is made more bearable by those still around you. Maybe you are one of those, like me, who really struggled with increased workloads at work and mounting pressure but gave thanks every single day, for the fact I still had a job. It could be you were an NHS worker and as one person told me, going into work each day felt a little like playing Russian Roulette. Well, whatever your reason, if you’re reading or listening to this article then I’m here to tell you that you are a survivor too!
Behind every headline, is a more detailed story and behind every story is an example of how God has brought you through, whether you recognise this or not! As you closed the door on 2020 and open the door on 2021, you can be certain that some of the headlines we are yet to encounter will be bigger and more challenging than those we leave behind. However, unlike some of the memes currently doing the circuit on what 2021 looks like, there is no need to be afraid. In fact, I can confidently promise you this:
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”Deuteronomy 31:8
And when you need direction then the Lord has also promised you this:
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”Psalm 32:8
And when you start to feel overwhelmed and just flat out tired in 2021 then you can cling to this:
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”Isaiah 40:31
And if you have already started 2021 worrying what your future holds, then take comfort in this:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”Jeremiah 29:11
These promises are not for a chosen few! They are for anyone who willing believes and allows God to take control of their future. I encourage you to read God’s word so you can be encouraged, nourished and directed in the year ahead. Couple this with constant and ardent prayer and see how the year ahead presents no challenge you cannot overcome. These promises envelop every situation you will encounter, ensuring that if you love God and commit your life to Him, then He will work all things together for your good (Romans 8:28). What a wonderfully calming reassurance.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33
Dear Father, Please allow me to walk confidently into 2021 knowing that you will fight for me. That I only need be still and know, that you are God. Amen