Are you stuck in the tears you have shed in 2020?


by Jacquelin Stoner

I feel a great kinship to the written description of the Israelites in Numbers 14:1 “That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled….” If you have ever said the words “if only”, you know it refers to the driving desire for circumstances to be different. We hear this loud and clear from the Israelites in Numbers 14:2 “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to die by the sword….Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”  Compare this to Numbers 11:1 “All the people complained” and Numbers 11:10 “Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to his tent.” Can you imagine Moses hour after hour having to listen to his people sobbing and moaning in front of their tents? Can you imagine what God has had to listen to for countless hours during this past year as we who call ourselves believers have been complaining and moaning about everything we have been going through.  To put it in Old Testament terminology, I personally have been doing a lot of “wailing at the entrance”. My apartment has been inhabited with depression and sometimes bitterness these last several months. 

Recently, I was totally bummed about our desolate Thanksgiving without family and Christmas is not looking any better at this point. I have been crying and whining about the isolation with COVID, the government restrictions and arguments about restrictions, and about so many things that just weren’t in my 2019 vocabulary. In fact, 2019 has become my Egypt (to put it in the language of the Israelites). In my heart I have painted 2019 as my magical place that I wish I could retreat to. I have filled 2019 with lovely brushstrokes of memories even though that year had its own range of unique difficulties.

What I have fallen to is the same sin that the Israelites fell into. I have been refusing to trust God because He has not done the things I think God should be doing. The Israelites wanted a convenient God, the One Who would supply their perceived needs on their own time schedule, the One Who would not permit enemies to surround them, the One Who would let them pick and choose what they would obey and when they would obey. They wanted a very small god of their own making. They wanted a unicorn and butterflies god.

In the midst of the account in Numbers, what the Israelites had geographically right around the corner from them was the Promised Land, but as the phrase goes, they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. All they saw were their present circumstances and since they refused to trust God in their present, they certainly were not going to trust Him with their future. Sadly, for this sin they paid dearly. The nation had to spend 40 years wandering around in a wilderness before there was raised a generation that would choose to trust God. Only then could He let them enter the Promised Land because the battles they would face in conquering the Promised Land would require a legion more of spiritual strength and obedience than the challenges the people had faced in the Wilderness.

I recently realized that 2020 has the potential to produce the greatest spiritual harvest we have had in years.  Amidst the isolation, the hardship, and the loss, there are more people who have come to realize that there has to be more to life than what they had envisioned in 2019. The wonder is that the same God Who was in power and present in 2019 is the same God Who has been in power and has been present in 2020. His character is the same and His love is the same. Have outward circumstances become different and sometimes very odd in 2020? Yes, but God is still Sovereign and this is the God we can choose to trust in, no matter if His plans are not mine and if His ways are not mine. This is the God and Savior we can point people to. The odds are that this harvest is and will be full of people who would not have given God the time or day in 2019.

The Challenge: So, are you going to spend the remainder of 2020 wailing at the door? Are you going to just settle for a very small unicorn and butterflies convenient god, or are you going to let Him enter your world and use you in ways you never could have envisioned? Are you going to let Him use you in a mighty way to help bring in the harvest that is just waiting out there? Please don’t choose to remain “wailing at the entrance”, but step ahead and say, “Lord, I don’t know what the rest of 2020 will look like and I don’t know what 2021 will look like, but God, I know Your character and that You are Trustworthy". Amen and amen!

Jacqui Stoner is a committed Christ follower has a great love of people, passion for communicating, and she treasures creativity. She is a Christian Life Coach, helping women navigate transitions https://leaningforwardwithjoy.com/ As you can tell, life is never boring with Jacqui. You can reach her at leaningforwardwithjoy@gmail.com