2020 was a rough year for many people. 2021 is here with the promise that it can’t get worse than 2020! Countless trials abounded last year – Covid 19 was the centre of chaos we could have never dreamed possible before last year.
For example, I could have never imagined a world where it was illegal to take my children to church yet with the limits on how many people can attend religious gatherings, my kids haven’t gone to church since March. I hate that! I feel it is so healthy for children to be raised with multiple voices speaking truth into their lives. On that same note, we have hosted a weekly Bible study for decades- literally over 25 years. Not this year. For months, we totally stopped it until we started back on Zoom, but it is just not the same when you are trying to encourage one another on such a deep personal level and the internet keeps freezing and people’s voices keep cutting. That is a snapshot into the trials Covid-19 put on our family’s spiritual life.
It doesn’t end there. We weren’t able to travel back to America, where my family is, for Christmas this year because international travel has become so complicated and unpredictable. Many friends I know who have travelled back to America this year have literally gotten stuck there unexpectedly for months because of various restrictions which prohibited them from coming back. Even just to travel to my husband’s home village, we have to apply for a permit and hope we can get the government’s permission to go see his parents.
Then, let’s talk about business. Very few people can say that last year was a great business year. I personally do a lot of public motivational speaking and team building for companies, which of course is difficult when public gatherings have so many restrictions that most of the corporate events I was scheduled to speak at were cancelled. One silver lining is since Corona normalized Zoom meetings, I was able to “speak” in places I normally could have never gone to because distance was no longer an option! That is exciting!
My husband and I wrote a marriage book this year. That is my third book and normally books sell when I do public speaking at events to market the book or book signings at book stores. None of that was possible in “Corona world”. We did start a website – www.ashleythaba.com and put the book in soft copy there if people want to buy it, but it seems people still prefer a hard copy book in their hands.
Many lost so much money – restaurant businesses which had countless restrictions placed on them, event planning businesses, airlines that found themselves grounded for months on end, entertainment businesses which could have never forseen that 2020 would be a time people couldn’t just go to a movie anytime they wanted. I could go on and on. Most everyone I know was impacted negatively in some way by Covid 19.
Yep! Corona has created trials I never could have dreamed of. Something so simple as hugging friends and hosting dinner parties now
This past year was hard and we don’t know that this upcoming year will be any better. What does the Bible say about these hardships?
James 1:2-4 states, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Romans 5:3-4 discusses this issue when it says “suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces character.”
What can we learn from these in regards to the world we now find ourselves in which is full of trials?
Find things to be thankful for EVEN IN THE TRIALS. Moreover, the Bible says train your mind to consider it a joy to encounter trials because they mature you! That is NOT easy, but I can testify that trials have a way of building your character and forcing you to mature in a way that an easy carefree life could never do.
I read a quote recently that said you can only appreciate the value of a drop of water if you have carried the water from the well. Many things we take for granted unless we have some hard times to help us appreciate the good times. I would like to encourage you as you enter 2021 to not fear the trials but look for the lessons within them. Understand and even be thankful that in these trials your character is being built. You are developing perseverance.
Keep looking to God. He is sovereign and His promises are still true EVEN IN CORONA TIMES! He can still work ALL things together for the good of those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28). Even in Corona times, you can still seek God first and everything else will be added. The amazing thing is that during these trials you actually have to depend on God. Consider it a joy that you are going to learn more about dependency on God, patience, hope, faith, etc. BECAUSE of the trials you are facing. I can’t promise you 2021 will be better than 2020, but I can promise you God can bring beauty, character, peace and JOY no matter what tomorrow holds for you.
Ashley Thaba is a popular motivational speaker, team building facilitator, author and the Producer of a hit TV show offering practical advice to strengthen families and improve marriages! Episodes of her show can be downloaded from her website – www.ashleythaba.com.You can view some of her work on her YouTube channel: Ashley Thaba. You can buy three of her books, Dive In, Making Marriages Fun, and Conquering the Giants, on her website. You can email her at email@example.com or follow her on Facebook at: Talking with the Thabas