Some Thankful Reflections On #NoDespair 2020
As Brayden and I discuss and reflect on 2020 and thank God for His providence in it, we are specifically thankful for several kindnesses from the Lord that have touched us and many people we know. I thought them worth sharing with you.
We are thankful for the opportunity to repent of despair and hope in God.
We are thankful for how God uses suffering and hardship for our eternal good. What happens in this life is not meaningless or wasted. Our good God builds us for eternity by refining us through our sufferings.
We are thankful for how people have modeled suffering well for us in 2020.
We are thankful for forgiveness. The heat surrounding the various circumstances of 2020 has brought to the surface many idols in our hearts, in broader conservative evangelicalism, and in the culture. Yet, this is not surprising to our Triune God who is eager to forgive us and cleanse in the blood of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is inexhaustible.
We are thankful for the extra time with our two boys. God has strengthened our resolve in 2020 to build men with gospel courage to stand firm in a culture that hates God and His gospel.
We are thankful to know faithful pastors in our community that shepherd their congregations so well.
We are thankful for technology and how we are able to use it to connect with other people who might otherwise be difficult to reach.
We are thankful for Covenant Classical Christian School and their partnership with us in education with our oldest son. We are thankful they meet in person which is a strange thing to write.
We are thankful for the elders and members (those physically healthy enough to do so) of our local church who have encouraged us and stood firm in the public worship of the Lord in the midst of a culture shaming them for doing so.
We are thankful for a Constitution that protects religious liberties.
Brayden and I are thankful for more time one-on-one. God has strengthened our marriage in 2020.
We are thankful that liberal churches that have long abandoned the gospel remain closed. They indeed have no reason to re-open and we pray the Lord would continue to keep the doors closed on false churches seeking to promote a false gospel.
We are thankful to have space to learn new things. We began gardening this year and we completed a few labor-intensive projects in which we had to acquire new skills (and tools) to finish.
We are thankful for the increase in homeschool and intentional Christian school education amongst Christian families. The government school curriculum has long since taught (best case scenario) that Jesus is irrlevant to 'real' life or (worst-case scenario) that it is high time to leave Him and the superstition behind.
We are thankful that families are worshipping together daily in the home and together sitting in the pew on Lord's Day corporate worship.
We are thankful for the opportunity to see our extended family more in 2020 than in any other year in perhaps a decade.
We are thankful that many Christian parents are seeing their responsibilities as parents clearer because God has graciously put us all in a position to see our responsibilities clearer: We are responsible to educate our children (Jesus is Lord over all subjects as He is the Creator of all subjects). Furthermore, we are to nurture our children toward a love of God and His church. We can't farm this out to professionals. This is our birthright. Many people we know seem to be more aware of this at the conclusion of 2020.
We are thankful for the preachers who filled the pulpit while I was away on sabbatical in November (Nate, Ben, Brian, and Shaun) and for Jen Brown who graciously watched our children so that Brayden and I could get away for a few days.
We are thankful for the opportunity to read more good books!
We are thankful to God to serve our local church and the kindness God demonstrates to us through them.