You might be saying to yourselves, “Ed, what does the title of this article mean?” It’s easy. This year be positive in your attitude and outlook. Be negative in your COVID-19 test.
This last year has been challenging for all of us. There was no 20/20 vision in 2020 like so many predicted. The velocity and frequency of the change have most people unsettled. No one is sure if these changes are for the better or the worse.
Many people feel like they are passengers in the backseat of a car and someone they don’t know or trust is driving them to places they may not want to go. They can’t reach the steering wheel to turn things around. And the driver seems to have moral and ethical issues, economic death wishes and an affinity for cliffhanging.
Do I have your attention? Maybe I can make the ride a little easier for you. Firstly, realize that no matter what it feels or looks like, God is in control. God alone determines the big picture. Yes, there is the smaller “day-to-day” or “year-to-year” picture, like who is elected or which direction society is going. Don’t lose your peace over the small picture. Look at the big picture. Leaders, institutions, philosophies, and countries who were once large and in charge are now in ruins or just a shadow of who they once were. That’s what happens to a country or leadership that marginalizes God.
The Scriptures say in Proverbs 21:1: “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wants.” The Message translation says it this way: “Good leadership is a channel of water controlled by God; He directs it to whatever ends He chooses.” Throughout history, ego-driven leaders thought they would determine the big picture. They thought they were driving the car. However, God was doing what God always does, and that is driving the car. History is His story, not their story.
Every leader or follower could benefit from what Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, learned long ago. The prophet Daniel enlightens us about God and how God works with us humans. “The Most High God granted sovereignty, grandeur, glory and majesty to Nebuchadnezzar. And because of the grandeur which God bestowed on him, all the peoples, nations and men of every language feared and trembled before him.
“But when Nebuchadnezzar became so proud that he behaved arrogantly, he was deposed from his royal throne. Nebuchadnezzar’s glory and position were taken away from him until he recognized that the Most High God is ruler over the realm of humanity and that God sets over it whomever He wishes.” Let me paraphrase. God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to drive the car. He abused it then lost it.
After learning some challenging but enlightening lessons about who is in control, Nebuchadnezzar came to his senses. He humbled himself. Then God restored him to his previous position. That’s good news for us. God can restore us, and God can restore our nation if we get off the throne and let God be God. But most kings and countries eventually refuse to allow God to be in control. They refuse to humble themselves. They become like shooting stars. They are bright and shiny, streaking across the sky for a moment, and then burn up.
My friends realize that God has things under control. The big picture is in God’s hands. God is driving the car, and God is not lost. That doesn’t mean we don’t get involved or do nothing. Do what you can and leave the results to God. Do your utmost for God’s highest, and always trust God.
Here are some predictions for 2021 you can count on: 1. Prayer will still work. 2. The Bible will still have truthful and right answers. 3. The Holy Spirit will still move. 4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people. 5. There will still be God-inspired messages spoken by God-inspired people. 6. God will still meet the needs of His people. 7. God will make a way where there seems to be no way. 8. There will still be room at the cross. 9. God will cause all things to work together for good. 10. Jesus will always love you, no matter what.
Here is a resolution for 2021. But remember, resolutions are like babies crying in a play; they need to be carried out!
When you’re sitting in the back seat of the car and don’t know where you are going, resolve to have self-control. George Bernard Shaw said: “Self-control is the quality that distinguishes the fittest to survive.” In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Mr. Potter and George Bailey owned the whole town. Why? They were the only ones who didn’t panic at the start of the Great Depression.
This New Year let’s have faith. Believe for more, not less. Let’s be generous. Give more, not less—especially to those in deep pain due to significant losses. Let’s hope more. God will cause all things to work together for good, even the worst things imaginable.