“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
— Philippians 4:7
Over the past several weeks, I have been asking people one simple question: “What would you change about 2020?” It has been fascinating to hear their responses, but better yet, I’ve received even more “are you kidding me” looks! I know, there are some obvious answers as our world has just experienced a global pandemic, racial unrest and political turmoil producing pain and suffering within the span of a year.
But the spirited discussions that have ensued from this provocative question have led to some key insights and understandings. People pulled from their experiences throughout the year to answer my question. Their answers showed how they journeyed through the burdens and blessings of 2020. Think about it, all 7 billion people in the world have just been affected at the same time with the same thing. It’s like The Flood, it put us in the same “boat” at the same time for the same reason: God is up to something.
I started asking people this question because when I was a child, my mom would sit down with me, look me in the eyes, and ask me a similar one that often made me stumble. “If you could change one thing physically about yourself, what would it be?” My mind would race with tons of answers including being bigger, stronger and faster (every boy’s wish).
After blurting out my final answer, she would encourage me that God didn’t make a mistake with how I was made. She would reference Psalm 139:14 and remind me that I was fearfully and wonderfully made. After falling to her question several times, one day I answered it with what she hoped to hear. “No changes, Mom,” I’d say with a smile on my face. “I am made exactly the way God intended.”
God never makes mistakes.
2020 has taught me so much about myself, about others, and more importantly, about God. When my dad was facing leukemia in 2007 and battling for his life, he taught me how to respond to trials: “Never ask why but instead ask what. What does God want me to learn from this experience, not why did this happen?” We get paralyzed when we ask why. Only God knows the why. He wants us to focus on the what. Our part is always the response. We need to control the controllables and trust God with what’s out of our hands.
Ask what not why.
We have witnessed and benefitted from the testimonies of FCA leaders as God has shown His faithfulness through their faith time and time again. In some of the toughest countries, God’s warriors have pivoted and continued to serve, bless and minister this year. Doors that the pandemic closed were opened supernaturally by incredible leaders in 107 countries! Thank you Vincent, Emma, Jin, Andriy, William, Julio, Ira, Chan, Daniel, Roberto, Esther, JoJo, Hans and the hundreds of others who persevered through a global crisis. Your faith has inspired us, captured our hearts, and moved mountains for the Kingdom of God. Your response has inspired us to keep fighting the good fight of faith. You are a blessing to the entire FCA family!
Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:7 that God’s peace, not man’s or the world’s peace, will protect us in the midst of suffering. Jesus’ peace is the answer! As we enter 2021, our prayer is that we will increase our faith and trust more. We will ask what not why. When we truly understand that nothing has happened that hasn’t already passed through the hands of God, we can simply trust and obey. No wasted days this year. Let’s count our days to make our days count.
Let’s pray Moses’ prayer from Psalm 90:12 for 2021:
Lord, teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. Amen.