How do you sort through a year that nobody saw coming? What kinds of things do you hear yourself saying over and over again? I can’t wait for this year to be over. Will this global pandemic ever end? Will our city ever be safe again? Will democrats and republicans ever learn how to get along? Is the Church irreparably divided?

Each of these issues in themselves is enough to keep you up at night. So how are we to process all of what we see in the days we find ourselves?

Recently on Susie Larson Live, Christian counselor Tina Dozer joined me to talk about how we ought to sort through what we’ve just come through. Here’s my paraphrase of what she suggested:

  • Live loved and give love ~ In times of crisis, we need to know—on a deeper level—how much God loves us and sees us. When we learn to live loved, we’re more likely to give love, which is what the world desperately needs right now.
  • Lead with mercy ~ Scripture tells us that mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13). While the world’s instinctive reaction is to judge those with differing opinions, God’s mercy is what will heal them. If we could see past the façade, the attitude, and the anger, we might see a hurting soul that hasn’t healed yet, and that doesn’t know how to live loved. How about if we teach them?
  • Impart value ~ Everywhere Jesus went, He imparted value to others. Yet, in this cancel-culture, the enemy is working overtime to devalue people through every avenue he can find. Instead, what if we made sure to look people in the eye, to smile at them, we’re kind to them? What if we made it our goal to go out of our way to ensure everyone we meet walks away with a fresh understanding of how important they are to God?

There’s a powerful insight hidden in Isaiah 58, where God reminds us that if we tend to the wounds of the world, He’ll tend to the wounds of our hearts. Here’s a portion of that chapter:

Isaiah 58:8-9 (NLT)

“Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
    and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
    and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
    ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

Father, we need You every hour! Help us to live loved and give love. Help us to lead with mercy and impart value everywhere we go, just like You did. Awaken our hearts this very moment. Amen.

I’ll leave you with a blessing. I pray it encourages you.

May you believe that God’s plan to redeem your story is already in motion. Though the enemy’s aim is to steal, kill, and destroy, Jesus knows how to bring abundance back into your life. God is for you. He loves you. He is a prayer-answering, miracle-working God, and He loves your faith. Don’t postpone joy. Don’t forget to laugh. Refuse to rehearse thoughts that tie your stomach up in knots. Think about what is lovely, praiseworthy, and honorable. Roll your burdens onto the Lord and expect Him to sustain you. Think about ways to foster faith, hope, and love in your life so that others might find a reason to look up and see Jesus for themselves. You’re not at the mercy of politicians or earthly infrastructures. You’re part of a coming Kingdom, and your King is strong and good. He has no rival. You have every reason to be confident in and assured of who God is and how He is. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Sorting through 2020