Surely, this thought has crossed your mind recently. We’re all wondering if (and hoping that) 2021 will be better than 2020. After all, 2021 can’t be any worse. It has to be better, right?
The Big “What if?”
Going into 2020, I didn’t expect to be sent home from college in the middle of the semester. I didn’t expect my friend’s wedding ceremony be cancelled. I didn’t expect church to essentially become nonexistent. I didn’t expect to be trapped in my home due to a government-mandated order for what seemed like an eternity.
I don’t know what to expect going into 2021. I hope that I can return to college for my last semester. I hope that I can graduate in a normal ceremony with my friends and family present. I hope that I can easily find a job post-graduation. And I hope that “shutdown,” “social distancing,” and “pandemic” become words of the past.
With the celebration of the new year, what are your hopes and expectations for 2021?
Do you hope Zoom will become an irrelevant, unnecessary technology? Do you hope your church can take that mission trip to South America? Do you hope your friend’s wedding can happen without capacity restrictions? Do you hope your school resumes in-person classes and never uses a virtual classroom again? Do you hope you can visit your family member in the hospital when he has a major surgery?
I bet we would all say that we hope 2021 is better than 2020. But what if it’s not? What if 2021 is worse than 2020? My goal for this post is not to make you lose hope but to point you to a hope that we can’t lose.
When This World Looks Bleak
It’s totally possible that 2021 will be a better year than 2020. Maybe the year ahead will be full of pleasant surprises and wonderful possibilities. I hope it is. But even if it isn’t, we have something better to look forward to.
Of course, I don’t want to slap a Band-Aid on your depression or anxiety about last year and the year ahead. I know that your pain on this earth is very real and that placing your hope in heaven can’t fix your mental health. This post can’t be a substitute for the counseling or medication that treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. But it can be a supplement.
What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God. (Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 NKJV)
God didn’t create us with desires that can be fully satisfied on this earth. Even if the coronavirus had never affected the world, we would still be destined for heaven—not earth. Because He placed eternity in our hearts, we won’t be content with 2021, no matter what comes. As best as we can, we should enjoy God’s gifts to us on this earth and be grateful for them.
Friends, if 2021 isn’t better than 2020, don’t give up hope. Our eternal home in heaven will be better. In fact, it will be best.