The Blessings of a Tough Year
This morning I opened my Bible and considered the shepherds.
“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!’” (Luke 2:8-11)
The past year has been challenging, to say the least. We’ve experienced fear. People we love have been hit by COVID-19. Others have lost their jobs. We’ve been isolated like never before. Ministries have been interrupted.
So, what can we learn from the shepherds?
- Acknowledge your fear.
I admit it. I’ve been afraid for my son who lives in close quarters in a maximum-security prison. I fear for his protection from prison violence and from the virus.
- Look for a message of hope.
Angels appeared to the shepherds, bringing good news and the promise of a better day. Today we have the Word of God that promises a future filled with His protection, companionship, and peace.
- Tell everyone about Jesus.
Gene and I have a mission—through Speak Up for Hope, we have the privilege of bringing resources and encouragement to inmates and their families. Through another wing of this ministry, we’re training mil-spouses for global military evangelism and Bible teaching. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible year-end gift, click here, and in the comment section, let us know if your gift is for prison ministry or for equipping global military missionaries. We appreciate you!
Hudson Taylor wrote: “Wave after wave of trial rolled over us; but at the end of the year some of us were constrained to confess that we had learned more of the loving-kindness of the Lord than in any previous year of our lives.”
All of us can admit: This has been a tough year—but we choose HOPE!
Prayer: “Lord, in the middle of the unique and sometimes difficult challenges of this year, we’ve experienced anxiety and fear. Right now, we open our hands and give to you what we cannot control. We hear your voice saying, ‘Fear not.’ We will read your Word and choose not to be anxious. We will tell everyone we know about Jesus and spread the hope-filled message of the gospel. Amen.”
Question: What have you learned about the loving-kindness of the Lord during this challenging year?
Carol Kent is a bestselling author and an international speaker for women’s conferences and retreats. She’s the executive director of Speak Up Ministries, which includes the Speak Up Conference, an event committed to helping people develop their speaking and writing skills and Speak Up MasterMind and Intensive Coaching Groups for speakers, writers, and leaders. Carol and her husband, Gene, have founded the nonprofit organization, Speak Up for Hope, which benefits inmates and their families. If you’re working on your signature keynote presentation, check out the Speak Up Speaker Certification Course.