Psalm 137:1 – “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. NKJV
The year of 2020 has been a year that many can’t wait to see come to an end. Don’t you remember the excitement for 2020, about a year ago? So many voices were shouting out that this year would be the year of greater vision, greater insight, greater anointing. Maybe for some, this was true; but as a nation, not so much!
COVID-19 reared it’s vicious head on December 31, 2019. By the end of January it was declared a global health emergency. As we enter the year 2021, unfortunately, it is still dominating the news, our lives, the way we interact with one another, and basically, the way we interact with the world around us. Millions have been infected, hundreds of thousands have lost their lives, and they said there is more to come. Jobs and businesses have been dissolved, mortgages and rent payments have been missed. It’s a lot to take in. Thankfully, we now have vaccines, as we try to find a new normal amidst the pandemic and hope for getting our lives and economy stable again.
Apparently that was not enough to throw our world into a frenzy, because in the midst of the pandemic came the riots against racial injustice. Not just in America, but around the world. People piling into the streets to demonstrate their anguish and frustration over the systemic racism became the norm for a greater part of our summer. In Australia, America, Europe, and Canada, citizens took to the streets to demonstrate their inability to sit around and continue to watch it happen to them and those around them.
With all of that going on, can you believe that we still had the normal things to come at us: hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, fires, and earthquakes? Normal life situations in the home and on the job. Stuff just kept coming at us! It’s a lot to take in. It’s a lot to think about. It’s a lot to have to deal with!
And then in America we had the election of all elections! Trump versus Biden! We have never paid such close attention to all the steps involved in the transitioning of power from one president to another as we have this time. Lawsuits, attacks on our democracy, Republicans against Democrats, and Democrats against Republicans. Accusations of a stolen presidency and claims to not give up the White House! Suicide bombing in a major city! Whew! I don’t know about you, but for me it has been a bit much! And 2021 isn’t looking to start out a whole lot brighter!
The children of Israel were headed to captivity in Babylon. They stopped by a river of Babylon to rest for some reason, and while they were resting, the psalmist said they wept! They couldn’t believe they were in captivity. They couldn’t believe they had to leave Israel. They couldn’t believe that God hadn’t protected them although the prophets said that He would. (God actually said that they had been lied to). They experienced a lot of loss themselves. Loss of home and ancestral lands, loss of positions, finances, community standing, family members, and their freedom. They were stunned, overwhelmed, and sadly disappointed. Anybody feeling like that today? It was too much!
Psalm 137:2-3 – We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, and those who plundered us requested mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” NKJV
The children of Israel was in such a bad place, they didn’t want to sing anymore. As a matter of fact, their captives asked them to sing a song, but they had hung their harps on the trees and asked how were they supposed to sing the Lord’s songs in a strange land? Can you imagine the defeat they must have been experiencing at that time? The situation was real, the pain was real, the frustration was real, the loss was real, it was all real. And they didn’t have any reason to sing from their point of view!
Situations, people, and life may change, but there is really nothing new under the sun. There are many people around the world today, after going through this year, feeling the same exact way. I was just reading someone’s Facebook post where she wrote that she hated 2020. I have heard people say they can’t wait til this year is done. They want it so over with! I understand the emotions behind the words. I understand the sentiment.
But in Jeremiah 29, God told the children of Israel, through a letter:
Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. Jeremiah 29:5-7 – NKJV
In other words, keep living! There’s nothing you can do about your current situation, He goes on to say in the letter. It’s going to last for 70 years. So don’t diminish, increase!
These words spoke to my heart this week and I haven’t been able to shake them. With all that has been happening, and may continue to happen, (and God knows we don’t want to see this for another year, let alone 70 years) as believers, we can’t afford to sit down and weep. We can’t allow the circumstances of our world to get us so depressed that we lose our ability to sing praises to God. This has truly been a turbulent year, in many cases, we have experienced a lot of losses, but we made it through and can boldly look forward to the future with hope.
It was in this letter that these words of encouragement are found:
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. NKJV
Whatever 2021 holds, God has thoughts of peace towards us and not of evil. He has a future filled with hope in it for His people. That alone will give us a reason to sing again. Or maybe you need to hear these words from the Savior:
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. -John 14:27 -NKJV
There are plenty of verses in the word that can bring you comfort, encouragement and strength. It’s time to hold tight to them and to sing like never before. You may be wondering, like the Israelites, how can we sing under these conditions? We may not know what 2021 will bring, but we know the One who will bring us into 2021. We have suffered in 2020, but, we can by faith, expect great victories in 2021. We’ve lost some things and some loved ones, but as we continue living in the midst of our challenges and adversities, we can look forward to greater things in Christ! And that’s reason enough to sing right there! Jesus, whom we have just celebrated for coming into the world, is still alive and well, and on the throne. He hasn’t left us, and He never will. We may not understand it all, but when we trust Him, we know He will bring us through and cause our hearts to sing again. Wonderful Jesus!