Riots, violence in the streets, many in the Church of Christ divided and caught in apathy, political upheaval, social unrest, a global pandemic, isolation, anxiety, racial tension, constant disappointment, loss of hope. The media has bombarded us with death statistics and dire predictions until, in order to survive emotionally, we have been forced to be more intentional about daily decisions regarding what to listen to and for how long. What a year 2020 has been.

And yet we have learned how better to use technology to share what God has given us. We have learned, I trust, to care more passionately for our neighbors. Perhaps we have learned the priority of relationships and the ultimate failure of material things to satisfy. We have been stripped of many superficial comforts and are able to focus better on what really matters, or at least we have been given that opportunity.

I have been encouraged recently in I Timothy as I reviewed the life of Paul and his relationship with Timothy. In 1:1 he calls Christ “our Hope.” Indeed. There is no other. In 1: 12-17 he reminds us of the person he once was and how God chose to put His mercy on him as the foremost of sinners. Yes. If God could forgive Paul and put him into His service after he ignorantly, passionately, with abandonment served God in error, surely, He can use us too. And the darker the night around us, the brighter our opportunity to be the light Jesus said we are.

May 2021 be our most effective year yet as representatives of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May 2021 be a time when we, as His people, live like the Church, demonstrating His love for one another in order that those around us may be drawn to a relationship with Jesus. May we become so totally dependent on Him that persecution, ridicule, or rejection will not move us or steal our joy. May we walk faithfully, resolutely, intentionally, purposefully, and confidently in the calling God has given us, regardless of the response.

Please keep praying for me as I pray for you.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen (I Timothy 1:17).