20 Lessons from 2020: Part 1

2020 definitely threw us a curve ball! I remember sitting in church on New Year’s Eve 2019 and feeling excited about all the plans we had made for 2020. Needless to say, nothing happened according to plan. We didn’t get to travel as we’d planned or accomplish all the things we’d been looking forward to. Instead, we got to do just the opposite- stay at home. It was supposed to be a busy year for us, but it became a year of “rest”.

Fast forward a year and I find myself sitting in my home with my husband and sister, the laptop in front of us, attending New Year’s Eve Service on Zoom. This time however, my thoughts are focused on different things than last year. I’m hesitant to make plans for the future, so I focus my attention on the year gone by. 2020. I didn’t do as much as other years but I learned so much more. I didn’t travel to all the places I wanted to but I spent more time in my chair with my Bible. I didn’t meet as many people as I would normally, but I got to enjoy quality time with those that were around me.

COVID-19 has confronted us all with the big questions of life. We have been surrounded by pain and suffering. Fear and uncertainty rule the world. A few months ago all we were hearing about was countries in lockdown, reported number of deaths, travel restrictions, and the effect of all this on the global economy. Through it all, God has  been teaching me so much; about myself, my people, my life, and much more about Himself.

I have divided this post into two parts. In this first part I’m discussing things God taught me about Himself and the Church.

5 Things God taught me about Himself

#1 He is in control even when it doesn’t seem like it

For me, the hardest part was to see the grief and anxiety all around and still trust that God is in control. But was He though? In control? The Bible says,For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.”  (Psalm 22:8). It may not seem like it, when everything is going haywire, but God is still on the throne. We see only the immediate picture in front of us, but God knows the bigger picture. Someday we will realize why God allowed us to go through such a chaotic time…“so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:6)

God wants me to know and trust that HE is the LORD. There is no other. So, when life seems out of control and anxiety overwhelms me, where do I find my joy, peace, and hope? I have learned that it is important to take time and like David be real about my emotions and feelings of fear and anxiety, but most importantly to put my hope in God’s presence, remembering He is good and in complete control.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:1-7

#2 Be still and wait on the Lord

Being still is not my forte. The pandemic forced me into a situation where I really could do nothing but BE STILL. Being still does not mean being lazy and doing nothing. It means to rest in Him as we go about doing all the things we have to do. It means to commit our anxious heart to Him and rest in His promises, knowing He is in control. It means to stop striving and know that HE IS GOD. (Psalm 46:10). And when you do that, “The LORD will fight for you while you keep still.” Exodus 14:14

 The LORD is in his holy Temple. All the earth—be quiet in his presence. Habbakuk 2:20

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “…in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”Isaiah 30:15

#3 He is my Jehovah Jireh

I learned this song in Sunday School and it rings true all the more today.

 Jehovah Jireh, my Provider.
 His grace is sufficient for me.
 My God shall supply all my needs,
 according to His riches in glory.
 He gives His angels charge over me. 
Jehovah Jireh cares for me.

God graciously provided all our needs, not only material things but ALL things. God is no man’s debtor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11)

When I was fearful and anxious, He comforted me through His Word. When I was lonely, He was near and He used His people to give me fellowship. When I needed a break, He made a way for us to take a short break away as a family. Whatever I lacked He provided. Even before I could pray, He answered. Though sometimes His answer was No, He gave me the grace to accept it.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

#4 God’s plans for me are GOOD

 It’s hard to trust at times, that God knows best, isn’t it? To witness all the pain and suffering around us and still trust that He has a beautiful plan in mind is not easy. We had our own plans for the year but God had other plans. In the midst of our disappointment God was weaving a beautiful story for our lives. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”(Isaiah 55:8-9) He had a purpose for each one of us before we were created, and it was GOOD. He didn’t create a plan for me and then suddenly get sidetracked in 2020. It was all part of His grand design. Yes, you read correctly, 2020 was part of God’s GOOD plan for me.

All of us, at some time or the other have experienced pain and suffering, loss and heartache. I’ve often wondered why God allows us to go through all that. I understand now that He allows it so that we will learn deep truths and grow more into His likeness. As Joseph says to His brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20). If I hadn’t faced any troubles in my life, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

“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

#5 …But God…

I’ve read this phrase in the Bible a bunch of time, but I’ve usually zoomed right past it without too much thought. This last year I took a closer look. Through the entire Bible, whenever these two words occur, it signifies a change of scene. Each time, God steps into the picture and completely and powerfully alters the situation.

Take a look at Noah, “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.” (Genesis 8:1). Then again there’s Joseph, You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20) We have David repeating this phrase all through the Psalms. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)

Last but not the least, there are sinners like you and me for whom these are the two most hopeful words we could ever utter.But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4–5)

Once we were dead in our sins, but God. We had no hope, but God. We were slaves to our own passions and desires, but God. We were enemies of God, but God.

Remember dear friend, whatever your situation, there is always, ALWAYS, a BUT GOD.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

5 Things God taught me about the Church

#6 The church is more than just a building

Although we have not gathered together in a building for almost a year, the church has not stopped existing. A building does not make a church, people do. We have continued to worship together, to encourage, to disciple and to fellowship with one another. The only difference is that now we see each other on Zoom and talk in breakout rooms instead of actual buildings and rooms with four walls! It is not ideal but it is what it is and I am grateful.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20

#7 God is still at work in and through the church

The work of the church has not stopped just because we are in a pandemic. God is continuing to use His people to work in the hearts of Christians and non- Christians alike. I’ve heard of and been amazed at the creativity of a number of churches in their outreach efforts. I’ve witnessed people coming to know Christ during this time. Churches have helped the sick, poor and needy, showing Christ’s love to others. The church is not perfect but God uses the imperfect things of this world to draw others to Himself.

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:!5

#8 The Church is resilient

As lockdown became effective, churches had to suddenly move to online services. Many members have suffered from COVID-19. Churches have moved back and forth from physical and virtual gatherings. Through all these challenges the church has remained resilient. The church is the bride of Christ and it will prevail till the end!

“..and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

 #9 The church must spend more time in prayer

I often find it easier to sit through a Bible study than spend 15 minutes on my knees.  Can you relate to this? Even on Zoom, we often see a bigger group for Sunday services and bible studies than for weekly prayer time. I think God wants me to remember how important it is for us to come together in prayer. I must make corporate prayer a priority in my life. We as believers must kneel together in prayer to be able to stand as witnesses in the world today. Without prayer it is impossible.

Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord. Joel 1:14

#10 Church is not an option

My parents taught me the importance of church very early on in life. We didn’t travel on Sundays, we didn’t take part in any extra-curricular school activities that took place on Sundays, and we never really missed church unless we were very sick. Sunday was the first day of the week and we set it aside to meet with other Christians and worship the Lord together. I have emerged from this time of no-contact church with a greater appreciation and a deeper understanding of the importance of church. I have missed meeting people, missed our voices blending together in praise, missed the hugs and words of encouragement from friends. I even missed the mad rush we went through every Sunday morning to get the kids dressed, fed and out the door in time! Church was never an option for me, but now it has become even more of a priority.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

2020 was not what I expected but undoubtedly what I needed. God knew. He used everything I experienced this year for my good. He taught me so much about myself and changed my perspective on life in general. Look out for the second part of this post where I share ten more crucial lessons God taught me in 2020.

Soli Deo Gloria

(Read Part 2 of this post here)

Articles: 32


  1. Thanks again Shiphrah. So true – A building does not make a church, people do. God has enabled this body of Christ to come together in His Holy Spirit, even if it was only on Zoom, or through some other media during the lock down. And to imagine that, these special electronic apps came into use just before the Covid-19 lock down came upon us. God makes a way even through the difficult time. When one door is shut he opens another door. Isaiah 43:19 reads, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”
    Yes, of course, there is a joy in gathering together in person with others to worship, praise and encourage one another in fellowship.
    I am looking forward to the day when in heaven people of many nations and tongues will gather together to praise and worship the lamb of God as written in Revelation 7: 9 – 12.
    Blessings in Christ.
    Jaya aunty

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