One of my all-time favorite contemporary Christian artists is Arron Shust, and since mid-November, I’ve listened to his song My Savior, My God, almost daily. It’s become my anthem, and it begins like this: “I am not skilled to understand, what God has willed, what God has planned.” What a perfect sentiment for the year! Other than Proverbs 16:9, which I’ll get to in a moment, if there’s a more appropriate quote for 2020 than this, just leave it in the comments, because I can think of none.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.Proverbs 16:9
If ever there was a year to bring Proverbs 16:9 into sharp focus, it’s been 2020. I can unequivocally say that this year has certainly been unexpected. The new year began as it had on many previous occasions with a renewed hope for future possibilities, new plans and goals, and a pot of beans.
On January 1st of this year, life was straight forward, predictable. Our plans were pretty much business-as-usual as we set new goals and dreamed new dreams. But God had established different steps for us, steps that forced us to take paths we had not know existed. We were awakened to realities that we had never considered before. Realities like loss of income, loss of property, loss of certain freedoms, loss of loved ones. I can’t think of one thing that has gone as planned, and honestly, it’s not been easy. Yet throughout the year, the words of Proverbs 16:9 have been my constant companion. That recurring voice, the one which patiently repeats that I see only through a mirror, darkly, that I am the pot, not the potter, reminds me of just who is in control: God.
This was my New Year’s posting on social media last year. It was an awesome New Year’s posting. Usually when we post something like this, it’s because we’re excited to see what God has in store for us. We think of Jeremiah 29:11, and all the good that He will do for us. Looking back, I have to laugh, because God was indeed doing a new thing, just not the thing I thought it would be. That “new thing” came with an acronym: COVID-19, which may as well have been called the black plague for the havoc it brought! The year was a true “teachable” moment, or a string of moments, right?. We learned that, sometimes, things have to be different from what we’ve come to expect, that what we consider to be inconvenient and troublesome is actually a blessing when viewed from God’s perspective. Many of the things we thought we could rely on were, indeed, not at all reliable. This storm has raged and the waters have been rough for nine full months, and one thing I know is that when you’re in the middle of the storm, it’s hard to look up, hard to stop an ponder where it’s all leading, where God is directing our footsteps.
While it has been a study in, trusting, in patience, and in love – remembering, or at least trying to remember, to love those whom we find it difficult to love – I’m still counting on God to do a new thing in 2021. Even if that new thing is not what I have envisioned, I can thank God that He threw 2020 at me. Because of this year, because of all the twists and turns the path has taken, I know that no matter what trials or stumbling blocks I may face, He will continue to direct my steps: My hope is in the Him.
And as I begin to navigate the new year, I will exchange one Arron Shust song with another: My Hope Is In You. These words,
“I won’t be shaken by drought or storm, a peace that passes understanding is my song, and I sing my hope is in You, Lord”My Hope Is In You written by April Geesbreght, performed by Aaron Shust
are the perfect anthem for what it means to fully trust as God charts His new course for the coming year.