According to one survey, the average person will spend approximately 43 days waiting on hold in their lifetime! That’s more than a month of our life that will be spent waiting for questions to be answered, problems to be solved, flights to be rebooked, or items to be ordered.
But 43 days on hold seems insignificant compared to all the waiting 2020 has held. In the midst of the uncertainty of 2020, plans have been canceled, rescheduled, or postponed until a later date. For many, life itself has been put on hold. And you might be wondering, How do I begin to move forward when everything still feels so uncertain?
1. Fight Fear With the Truth of God’s Word
2. Find Perspective by Giving Thanks
Fight Fear With God's Word
To walk confidently in the coming year, we need to fight the fears we are facing right now. The antidote to fear is courage, and the true opposite of fear is faith. And the best way to build faith is through the Word of God.
Social distancing and face coverings are now a part of most of our lives. And while we are to love others well and submit to authority, we shouldn’t live in fear of the unknown.
In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” When we begin to feel unwell, our imagination can conjure up every worst-case scenario. These dark products of the imagination can put us in the grip of fear—a place God would never have us go. This fear is banished with a sound mind, and we maintain a sound mind by “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). When a thought that is not from God enters our head (“I’m sick; I’m going to die!”), we examine it in light of God’s Word. Does this thought have any basis in reality? If not, we take it captive. No longer can it run free and lead our imaginations away from God’s goodness and into unhealthy fear.
Many individuals have lost their jobs or have been unable to work for significant portions of 2020. The fear of being unable to pay bills or find a new job is a reality. However, God’s Word is filled with promises of His provision for us. Psalm 23 tells us that the Lord is our Shepherd, so we shall not lack. In Matthew 6:25-33, Jesus pointed to the birds and flowers and noted that if God feeds and clothes them, won’t He do the same for His very children? David tells us in Psalm 37:25 that, in his long life, he has never seen “the righteous forsaken.” When the fear of financial uncertainty grips our minds, we can turn to Scripture and remind ourselves of God’s care for us.
Between working from home and avoiding group gatherings, 2020 has proven to be a lonely year. Isolation and loneliness can be scary places. When the apostle Paul was facing imminent death in Rome’s most dreaded prison, he wanted something more than the comfort of a warm cloak. He wrote to Timothy, “Bring…the books, especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13). We are given no clue as to what books and parchments Paul desired. However, it’s likely that Paul owned parchments that contained some or all of the Old Testament writings. I believe Paul wanted to spend his remaining days on earth building his faith—and thus his courage. When I feel my own faith waning, nothing rebuilds it like the Word of God. My heart is always encouraged when I meditate on the promises of God. The following promises remind us of God’s faithfulness, even when we are isolated and alone.
"I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Find Perspective by Giving Thanks
As we fight our fears with the promises found in God’s Word, we also need to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness as we look to move confidently into 2021. It is God’s will for us to give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18), including when our life is on hold.
Growing in thankfulness begins with reviewing our past. Thanksgiving is primarily an experience of looking over our shoulder at where we have been and seeing what God has done. Psalm 30:4 says, “Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.”
Next, we refocus our present. An attitude of thanksgiving is to be a primary focus in our lives, and meditating on the following Scriptures will help us refocus on giving thanks to God.
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
And finally, we rehearse our praise. Ephesians 5:19-20 tells us that we are to speak “to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner, and while your table might not be as full of family and friends this November, your heart can still be full of thankfulness. Begin making a list now of all the ways God has blessed you in 2020. Thank Him for His provision for you, for the lessons He’s taught you, for the kindness of others, for the strength to endure, and most importantly, for His gift of salvation! Read through and add to your list each day while making a point to share your list with others.
We don’t know what 2021 will hold, but we have no need to fear or worry as we look ahead. We might continue to spend more time on hold next year, but that doesn’t keep us from moving forward with confidence. God’s promises vanquish our fears, and a heart of thanksgiving realigns our attitude. By focusing on God’s Word and thanking Him for His blessings to us, we can walk forward with confidence!