In June, 2020, I was privileged to invite several writers/authors from across the United States to participate as Contributors to a new book. Sixteen people responded affirmatively. Their contributions became, and remain, spectacular and life-changing. The title of this book, released in early November, 2020, is God’s Plan Unfolding * Strength and Renewal in Times of Crisis. Website: www.godsplanunfolding.com
This book of faith chronicles the heart-touching stories of these friends: how faith in God sustains and sustained each person as they weathered crises, no matter cause or duration. While not a political book, the COVID-19 pandemic is referenced as a current crisis in which strength and renewal were so needed, and accomplished by placing faith in our God Who is “in charge.” This season is all part of His plan, one that unfolds as each day goes by. But COVID-19 was only one example of a crisis. A look at the website above will introduce you to the authors/Contributors, and their stories that span lifetimes.
I imagine that all of us would like to permanently put 2020 away, in back of us for all time. In terms of timeline: this blog is being written just before Thanksgiving, 2020. A year ago, in December, 2019, most hopes were high; as in past years, the New Year looked promising. It was on January 3, 2020, however, that reality took its toll, unrelated to COVID-19. Hospitalization was required for pneumonia and flu, and to this day my family and I don’t know the sources of either. In this time of need, after returning from the hospital three days later, focused recovery became the goal. Friends from church assisted greatly. Their giving was beyond any call of duty.
Up through January, February, and March, recovery, although slow, was measured and sure. Then the pandemic known as COVID-19 hit the country … and it hit the country and the entire world very hard. Fortunately, testing found that what I had in January was not COVID-19. I am grateful to God for that fact.
But the pandemic changed patterns of life, business, contacts, love, expression, and more, including sports, travel, and children’s education in and out of school. Perhaps in our lifetimes and beyond, the pandemic completely altered life as we knew it. Plus, add a chaotic national election to the mix. Thousands, perhaps millions of people were disillusioned; rates of isolation, suicides, discouragement, and depression rose dramatically. In-person guarding against the spread of the disease in many cases “required” or at least strongly encouraged social distancing, masks, isolation, quarantines, and home-bound activities. Those changes continue, nation-wide and world-wide. Spikes in the spread of the virus have been rapid and marked as winter, 2020 approaches. New waves of COVID’s devastation and death have reached monumental proportions as of November, 2020, even as the promise of a vaccine looms.
Do we want to be finished with all of this and to return to a sense of “how it used to be?” Most would unashamedly say, “Yes!” Can the New Year of 2021 become a Newer Year? How will violence, hatred, unrest, the blight of racism be solved, and blatant, vast divides in our American population be bridged? How can a call to faith by church leaders throughout the land be heeded, regardless politically of who may be newly elected and “in charge?” How can we focus on God first, family next, and government third?
What is “normal” now? What new standards and adaptations must be adopted for life to go on in some kind of semblance of peace? Questions like those continue to be asked. These questions will be contemporary inquiries for quite some time.
Where and what are the answers?
I proclaim unashamedly that the Bible, God’s Holy Word, contains all the answers needed and desired. That was and is the central motive around writing God’s Plan Unfolding. I invite you to purchase this book of testimony if you have not done so already, for yourself, friends, and family as this Newer Year begins.
Let’s start again. We can and should do this.
In college I formed, directed, and arranged instrumental and vocal music for a group of talented young people. The name of their group was Yesterday’s Beginnings. The members originated from Arrow Highway Wesleyan Church in Covina, California. At the time, I honestly didn’t understand the group’s name. Time and experience however, have ushered in new perspectives for many. Understanding is greater now for everyone as we remain open to learn, trust God, and obey.
Let’s go back to the yesterdays of simpler times; times of faith, trust, heartfelt commitment and passion. Let’s begin again. As Yesterday was so can Tomorrow become at least in part, not living in the past, but learning from it, where sincere attitudes of humility, sacrifice, the joy of the Lord, following God’s Plan and willingly obeying His precepts can once again contribute to sustaining and growing life.
This is more than a call for unity, and peace. This is a call of willful obedience, loving God and each other as Jesus commanded.
Happy New Year!