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Into 2021: This Is No Ordinary Battle

If you have been struggling with keeping your New rear’s resolutions, know that you are not alone. 2020 was a hard year, and 2021 still feels heavy. I didn’t expect my 2020 resolution to lower our expectations to be taken so literally. Who knew?

For many, 2020 seems to have been a year of transition. In 2020, my newfound time (starting in March) led me to pray deeper into God’s plan for me, only to discover that God was calling me to seminary.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was. Thankfully, God has had His hand on me through the process. He guided me through my application, into entering the first semester with acquired work, to guiding me through the coursework. Praise God for His goodness and His incessant faithfulness.

For others, this time has been a long season of hardship, whether that be from loneliness, overexhaustion, sickness, or a combination of all three. I thank our essential workers for their hard work and dedication, always, but especially now. Thank you.

Some of us have been battling with ongoing health issues that aren’t COVID-related, but extended wait times are stressful. These are those who suffer in silence, with delayed appointments and surgeries. You are seen. God sees you. God hears your cry, and He’s with you.

This has felt longer than a season, because it is. This is a prolonged winter, a battle—a war—of the soul. As a result, discouragement is easy. Facing death, overwhelm, health complications, crowds, anxiety, financial stress, depression, and overall impending doom has sucked the hope right out of us. This pandemic is not just a virus, it is a war on many fronts. It is a war on our bodies—even if we’re not sick with COVID. We are exhausted from stress, long lineups, and long work shifts. It is a war on our minds, being unable to see loved ones when we need each other most. We must battle daily with the enemy, in whatever form he takes. Often, he takes the form of a negative thought, making us feel incapable.

Sometimes the onslaught of these feelings becomes so much, it feels like we’re hardly able to keep our head above water, trying to get air with a vice grip in our chest and lead in our feet. It feels impossible. It’s no wonder that we’re short-tempered and frustrated, ready to have a meltdown daily. This is what the enemy wants.

But with any war, we must keep fighting each battle as it comes. We cannot give in. The alternative is losing, and losing is not an option. We must fight, and we must win. Do not lose your resolve or your resolutions, because the next generation is growing up, and they will have their own battles to face. They are watching how we fight this one. We cannot win this on our strength alone.

We must acknowledge our battle scars, dress them, rest by leaning into Jesus, and pick up our shield. Be like Abraham, assured of God’s promises for you. Let the resolutions you made carry you over the battlefield; let them inspire you for a better tomorrow. Fight in how you can: take one day a week off your devices, indulge in your Bible (and any other good book), stick your head out your door for a breath of fresh air. Tell Jesus about your pain. Cry—even Jesus wept when filled with sorrow.

Let God write your resolutions for you. Note that we don’t have to wield a sword, but hold high the Word. Note that our fighting looks a lot like resting—that’s because it is. When we hold on to the One who has the power, we find refuge because He fights on our behalf. This is our battle stance.

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