Seeing the good and not just the bad

Seeing the good and not just the bad

Everyone seems to be doing post-mortems on 2020 at the moment. And it is not hard to list all of the terrible things that have happened this year; it is truly remarkable how difficult it has been for so many. But I don’t see the point in dwelling on all the bad things. Let’s look at the positives.

I don’t mean that we should pretend that the bad things are really good things. No, not at all. There are bad things in our world, whether in 2020 or any other year, and it is usually easy to come up with a substantial list. I mean that we can feed our negativity by continually revisiting our troubles and complaining about them. Our tough times are not the only things that have happened to us in 2020.

It will help if we consider what it is like to be in pain. Have you ever stubbed your toe on the ground? It hurts. Even though the injury is usually not that bad, the pain (for a short time) overwhelms us. All we think about right at that moment is our toe. Nothing else seems to matter. In a bigger perspective, that stubbed toe is nothing major at all. We might even forget about it in a day or a week. But pain has a way of dominating our thinking so that we don’t see that bigger perspective.

One of my favourite old hymns is called “Count your blessings.” The hymn writer calls on us to count our blessings one by one, and it might surprise us what the Lord has done. That remains good advice. Instead of wallowing in self-pity at what 2020 has brought us, consider the good things God has done.

When I reflect on this year, I know God has done good things. I have spent more time with my family than I otherwise would have. I have seen a large number of people, both Christian and non-Christian, reassess their life choices in light of the risk of disease and death. I have witnessed my children grow in maturity and understanding. The strange year has led to me having more evangelistic conversations than normal, and the number of visitors to church is higher than ever.

And, of course, there are things that are always true that Christians should celebrate even in the tough times. Jesus remains king. Our sins are paid for if we trust in Jesus. We have a local church family that loves us. We have a glorious inheritance. Nothing can separate us from the love of God, not even disease or death. We can have confidence in the future, even if the COVID rules change all the time.

God is always good. There are always positive things to see. Make sure you don’t just wallow in the bad times of 2020 this reflective time of year; there are many things to thank God for if you look for them.