And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2
2020 has been a year to remember! We will all remember 2020 for decades to come. The global pandemic of COVID-19, protests, economic and political volatility and so many more events ushered in the inner battles and struggles we never imagined nor expected. So many comments and shared sentiments have been communicated that essentially say “I don’t want to think about 2020 ever again.” Feelings and emotions of exhaustion, lostness, chaos, fear, anger, are just a few emotions that captured us and held us hostage this year. Life on every level was altered, even rhythms of life we so desperately need were completely shut down. As we leave 2020 and look forward to a new year, I find it so very important to reflect on the good and bad events of 2020. No matter what took place in the past year, ALL were orchestrated by the Lord our God to help us better know our hearts and understand who He is. Succinctly, you don’t know yourself the way you think you do – God does – and by better seeing you for who you are, you are able to more fully, and wonderfully know and enjoy Him! Am I saying that one way God reveals himself to us and how we draw closer to him is through realizing all the grossness that still remains within us? YES!
Q: Remember what He has done over the past year—list 3 things He has done for you.
The Wilderness is to Humble You
This past year was something like the Israelites in the wilderness- wasn’t it!! Thankfully it was one year and not 40! How will you remember 2020? How has this past year impacted you? It has definitely been a year of humbling for me. I have seen the sinfulness in my heart I didn’t know was there. I questioned God’s goodness. I wasn’t as close to God and got tired of watching online church (it just isn’t the same). I was dry in my spiritual walk and found myself discouraged too easily. I realized how finite I am and how infinite God is. When we are in the wilderness, let us understand who we are before God and be humbled by His goodness.
Q: In what ways were you humbled in 2020? How can that humility draw you closer to Him?
Knowing Yourself/Your Heart.
If you had asked me in the past if I had ever questioned God’s existence, the answer would have been without a doubt “NO.” I know God is real! I know He is a loving and merciful God. I know He has my best interest at heart. The truth is that in 2020, I did question God’s existence, His love, His mercy, and if he even cared for me. God takes you through trials so you will know yourself better. Will you trust Him when Coronavirus puts you out of a job? Will you trust Him when your house seems to be falling apart? I knew the truths of the gospel, but my heart was full of disbelief when the deep trials of life hit. I never thought I would question God like I did, yes, truly humbling. But I learned that he would bring trials into my life to know myself better, test my faith, and draw myself even closer to Him in ways I never knew existed!
Q: Evaluate yourself for the next 10 minutes. Think about situations in the past year; what did you learn about your heart towards God, others, and yourself?
Will You Keep His Commandments?
The wilderness/trials of 2020 tested you and your faith, to reveal whether or not you will “keep his commandments?” I think we can all say that 2020 has brought about emotions and trials we never thought we would see. When the trials of the Israelites were present, they wanted to turn back to their slavery in Egypt they had just escaped. God doesn’t want you to turn back, but for you to know yourself, know God, and instruct us to live by His Word. He wants you to grow closer to Him. God will bring you out of every trial like He parted the Red Sea; He will provide a way of escape. Why? So you will know yourself, know God, and instruct us to live by His Word. Remember when the Israelites were in the wilderness, and they thought they were going to starve? God fed them manna and provided for their every need! Why would God allow them to get to the point where they were starving? To know yourself, know God, and instruct us to live by His Word. Why do we have trials? Why do we have pain? To know yourself, know God, and instruct us to live by His Word. This new year will bring about more “wilderness” experiences in your life. You must see the heart of your heavenly Father toward you and His purpose toward you during this coming years wilderness experiences. Your perspective of God toward you, your belief whether your heavenly Father loves you or not changes your entire perspective and response when in the wilderness. You must remember it is the Lord your God who led you into the wilderness, so you will know yourself and know Him. So, fear not, stand firm and watch for the salvation of the Lord (Ex. 14: 13) work miracles and part the “Red Seas” in your life this coming year!
And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:3
Q: In 2020, what did you learn about yourself?
Q: In 2020, what did you learn about God?
Q: How can 2020 help you to live according to His Word (by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord)?