By Julia Gervais
“When I grow up, I’m going to be a nurse in a big hospital, then I’ll marry a tall, dark, handsome doctor who works there,” said nine-year-old Kerry confidently.
“Then what?” asked mom.
“We’ll have two children, preferably a boy and a girl, they might even be twins-after all you and Uncle Paul are twins. That would be great, get it over and done with in one go, they would play together and never be lonely. I’ll be a stay at home mom like you, until they are 6 years old.”
People often have hopes for themselves and their children. Despite their best intentions, things generally don’t go exactly as planned.
As each year draws to its close, good intentions resurface. All broken resolutions are revisited and sometimes repackaged. With a New Year comes new enthusiasm and a vision of success.
Flash back to 31 December 2019:
I’ll start a walking club next year, I need more exercise
I need to change my diet after Christmas- sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, raw vegan…
I’ll pick up a musical instrument next year
I’ll do some travelling, I need some ‘me time’
I’ll definitely spend some quality time with my mom next year.
All was going to plan, well at least the good intentions were being fuelled by enthusiasm. January 2020 was filled with optimism; February 2020 we were just getting our feet wet; March 2020 our procrastination was over, maybe it was time to fully commit.
Then COVID-19 applied the brakes and all plans were put on hold. Plan A became extinct; Plan B followed; Plan C – this too shall pass; Plan D – order smaller turkey; Plan Vaccine came with the hope that things will get better. It’s now December 2020, actually Christmas week – tighter restrictions have just been imposed share prices have fallen, and flights cancelled. There is talk of possible food shortage!
The constant refrain is “I can’t wait to see the back of this year, I’ve had enough” or “Let’s put 2020 to rest.” Forget gifts, all I want for Christmas is a bit of the old normal.
Yet as the year 2020 catapults to extinction, we ask what next? At every stage in life we make plans, all without certainty and yet a sense of optimism accompanies them. We all look forward to a better year. We are confident that 2021 will be better or rather, we feel it can’t be worse…can it?
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness,” Genesis 1:26. My Bible tells me that we were created in God’s image, an integral part of which is immortality. Death was never a part of God’s original plan, it all changed when sin entered. Sin means death – it’s a package deal. God placed the desire for eternity within us, so even in our sinful state we cling to that hope. Maybe that explains the fear of COVID-19; it bears the stench of death. ‘Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die’ wrote Loretta Lynne. After death, what next?
While many look forward to next year, it’s with huge uncertainty. What next?
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die,” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 for most people death is a depressing certainty, but for all mankind Christ’s return is certain. If prepared, we will be able to look forward to the second coming with joyous anticipation.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am,” John 14:1-3. We can be sure of Christ’s second coming. We need to use this time of uncertainty to invest in that which is certain-Jesus’ return.
The Apostle Paul provides comfort for our current situation, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” Romans 15:13.
Heavenly Father, we are in the season of excitement yet it feels so different this year. We are so thankful that amidst the uncertainty, you remain the same. Remind us of the security found only in You in the name of Jesus. Amen.