2020. The Year of Abundance?

2020. The Year of Abundance?

They say hindsight is 20/20 and if it’s one thing we all have an abundance of after walking—better yet, limping —through 2020, its hindsight alright.

I’m pretty sure our minds have yet to comprehend this overwhelming journey of a year, but we now see more sharply the rigors, the pliability, and the grace it has demanded of us all. And as we hold our breath at the New Year that’s upon us, perhaps an exercise in hindsight is what we need to move forward a little braver, a lot wiser, and abundantly grateful.

January 2020. There was abundant hope. The sheer reverberation of 2020 off the tongue felt fresh and brought an uncanny optimism. Plans were moving full steam ahead, teams were booked for summer projects, bottom lines were going in the right trajectory, and many were not even cognizant of the viral threat that loomed on the doorstep of the world.

February 2020. There was abundant love – of course. This would also be the last month of abundant normalcy as we knew it. Airplanes still flew relatively freely, people were still very much unrestricted, and restaurants were still very much open for business.

March 2020. There was abundant confusion. Little was known about this novel virus and to wear masks or not to wear masks was being litigated in real time. Beyond that, the world was completely and unrecognizably shut down. Like, not just a part of the world, I’m talking the WHOLE WIDE WORLD! No one could travel or dine or even go beyond the premises of their property. Toilet paper became the latest fad and tech companies that never really saw the light of day pre-pandemic were now in high demand. School stopped. Work stopped. Normal stopped. Just. Like. That.

April 2020. There was abundant change. All of sudden, we became creatures of habitation rather than habit. For the still-employed, work moved from the office desk to the kitchen table. Our children were forced to adapt to virtual learning and churchgoers began to meet online rather than in person, even on Resurrection Sunday. Unemployment hit record highs. Highly anticipated plans were no longer just postponed, but cancelled. News outlets inundated us with grimness and death tolls began to rise. We couldn’t shop like normal, meet like normal, or even just be normal. The reality of it all was as novel as the virus itself and the whole notion that “we’re in this together” didn’t exactly bring consolation.

May 2020. There was abundant disbelief. Was all this really happening and is this going to be the new norm? Questions stirred. Anxiety reared its ugly head in a million what-if’s. Patience was running thin. Two months into the lockdown and you could almost hear the child-like tantrums echoing loud, “Isn’t this over yet?” But the virus was far from over. Turns out, it wasn’t even remotely close.  And adding to our disbelief was that mind-blowing knee-on-the-neck incident that gripped the entire world. Something we will never be able to un-see. What really was going on in the hearts of men?  

June 2020. There was abundant unrest. Social distance was kicked to the curb as messages of social injustice were placarded onto building walls, city streets, and sporting arenas. Peaceful demonstrations boiled over into ugly riots. It was heart-wrenching to watch the destruction and chaos play out from afar. With unemployment still high, liberties being threatened, lives being lost by virus and violence, an election cycle looming, and noise louder then reason, 2020 no longer reverberated hope, but screamed of despair.

July 2020. There was abundant anger. In major US cities and places like Hong Kong, Ethiopia, Serbia, and Belarus, protests surged for varying reasons. The underlying theme of every news cycle reeked of complete indignation the weary world over. Those with spiritual eyes could see it clear – Satan had been given a foothold and he wasn’t about to back down.

August 2020. There was abundant disaster. As if the virus wasn’t disaster enough to lives and livelihoods, hurricanes ravaged the Atlantic, explosions rocked Lebanon, a rare derecho hit the US Midwest, fires set California ablaze, and flash flooding killed at least 100 people in Afghanistan. The parts of creation God spoke into being were groaning, but were those that He formed into being doing the same yet?

September & October 2020. There was abundant repetition. Every day a new record of virus cases was being recorded. Hurricane season dipped into the Greek alphabet. Campaign ads were spewing the typical venom. And by the way, we’re all still “in this together.”

November 2020. There was abundant discord. This time, mail-in ballots were being litigated in an election strange as the year itself. And the world continues to watch.

December 2020. There is abundant hope. Not because of a vaccine or falling unemployment rates or even because the calendar will soon leave 2020 behind. Phew! There is abundant hope because Advent reminds us of our abundant Savior. And because He is Sovereign, we can declare as the Psalmist did in Psalm 65:11:

“You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.”

Sweet sister, hindsight tells us 2020 was rough. But EVEN the hard pathways flow with abundance. His abundant presence. His abundant grace. His abundant love. He will crown the year with a bountiful harvest! How? We don’t know.  But let us not wait to lift up abundant praise!

Read Psalm 65. Is there a portion of that Psalm that abundantly encourages you heading into the New Year?

Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

2 Comments

  1. Sarah Hilkemann December 28, 2020

    Psalm 65 is such a beautiful reminder of the Father’s goodness, especially in 2020. I especially find comfort in verse 5: “You answer us in righteousness, with awe-inspiring works, God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the distant seas” (CSB). He DOES answer our prayers, he does hear us. He is our only true source of hope.

    Thank you for sharing this reflection on 2020, Stephanie! I love it. 🙂

    1. Stephanie Clarke December 28, 2020

      I love that translation, Sarah, of verse 5. As I look out over the ocean, it just brings it to life! ❤️ He is hope!! He is always hope!

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