by Matt Kitchell, FPD High School Principal
Mr. Kitchell sends a Monday Morning devotional each week to faculty. This week was about praising God even in the midst of trials, or when “2020 strikes again.”
We have all said it. “2020 strikes again,” or something to that effect. It’s a way to dismiss or cope with the seemingly infinite number of hits that keep coming this year. It’s simply too much to sit and actually invest emotionally in all that has been 2020. So we joke. We post memes.
I read 2 Corinthians 1 today and was reminded that every person that has ever lived has been through a handful of “2020” years. Ecclesiastes speaks clearly to it too. It’s really not all that unique from a historical viewpoint. We simply have the tendency to forget. Look at the words Paul writes to the Christians in Corinth (2 Cor. 1:3-11).
2 Corinthians 1:3-11
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.
But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
Paul says that “we were so utterly burdened that we despaired of life itself. We felt that we had received the sentence of death.” Putting it lightly, Paul was having a “2020 year,” but his focus was on the hope of Jesus that was raised from the dead. His hope was in miracles.
This passage reminds me that:
- God is merciful
- He brings comfort
- Our afflictions are present for our comfort and salvation (hard to swallow that one)
- We share each other’s burdens and each other’s comforts
- Our hope is alive and seated at the right hand of the Father
- Pray for each other, for deliverance, so that we might give thanks together to God who is faithful and willing.
It ultimately points all of us to trust and give thanks to God. I know that you have burdens too. As Paul urges, I am praying for you.
For those things that are public, private, personal and corporate, and it’s my hope that 2021 will be a time that we will give thanks together for the gifts received in 2020. The gifts we didn’t know were gifts. The gifts that in many cases were wrapped in affliction.