Remembering the homework of 2020

The year 2020 is indeed a year that no one would forget. It is probably the only time after WWII that everyone all over the world went through hard times together. The virus that swept over the world has caught us unprepared. In the past before we  got down to business with our colleague from other parts of the world, our conversation starters would usually revolve around the current weather or the latest festivities. Now, however, the topic would always be about the latest pandemic update. 2020 became a turning point in human history. Our plans and usual way of life have been turned upside down. Enterprises and countries have to change their way of operation and set aside future development plans. What important lesson have we learned in the year 2020?

The Bible in James 4:13-15 says, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” The lesson or homework that we ought to carry from 2020 into 2021 should be knowing to be humble before God, to know our weaknesses of the flesh, and to depend wholly on the God who is in-charge of all things. How many times have we thought that we could make things work on our own, trusting that our plans would never go wrong, and having the belief that we can do better that God? The sudden wave of the pandemic had shown us that our plans, as well as that of the whole nation were so volatile. The speedy development of a vaccine and its worldwide immunisation programme have shown men’s wisdom and determination. Without, however, God’s mercy, nobody would had expected a vaccine to be in use in such a short span of time to counter the virus. Furthermore, without God’s mercy, we could not guarantee that the existing vaccine would be able to adequately protect us against the constant viral mutations. Hopefully, we would learn to be humble, to honour and depend on God through this pandemic. “Then he said to them: ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven’” (Luke 21:10-11). Jesus’ prophecy regarding the end of days is gradually unfolding before our eyes. Tensions and wars between nations are escalating. There is an increase in the frequencies of earthquakes and waves of plague, including the current pandemic. These are signs that point us towards a world that is ending very soon. At that time Christ will come to this world again. “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near . . . Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch and pray, that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:27, 34-36). The coming of Christ signifies an important and joyous occasion for all Christians because it is a time that we will experience the full redemption of God. But if we focus only on the things in this life, Christ’s coming would become a trap for us. We would then face His reproach. Hence, we should stay vigilant, live a life close to God, and making Him the centre of our everyday life.

Will the pandemic be over as we step into 2021 from the year 2020? Hopefully it will, but no one could guarantee that. Is Christ coming this year? The Bible says that no one can predict the exact date. Therefore, we would not know if Christ were coming again in the year 2021. We could be sure, however, that we are a year nearer to His coming than in 2020. We pray that God would help us make the most of 2021, to be serious in our walk with Him, to set our hearts on fire to desire Him, to take God seriously, and to learn to put Him in the centre of our lives. May every Christian be like that of the apostle John, who fervently said with the expectation: “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev 22:20)

Let us then be true and faithful, trusting serving everyday,
Just one glimpse of Him in glory, will the toils of life repay,
When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be,
When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!

~Hymn 419 When we all get to heaven~ 

translated by Elaine Chew