2020 is not over. We still have time. This year does not have to be logged in the history books as one of ruin, despair, defeat, and darkness. One thing I have learned from my conversion from being a drug-addicted, alcoholic atheist, who wanted nothing to do with religion, to a God-fearing, praise and worship singing, Bible-believer is that there is always hope.
Honestly, if I can come back from being the barely living spiritual vagabond and become the thriving, joy-filled, and grateful man that I am today, anything can happen.
It’s absolutely true. With God, all things are possible.
Recently, I have heard many encouraging stories of people re-finding their Faith, starting successful businesses, and building stronger relationships with family members during this pandemic. I have heard stories of the opposite as well, but the positive ones still give me hope.
For me, this year has been a time of tremendous growth in my relationship with God and my family. Maybe it has to do with me getting older, but I feel like I have been gifted with such a deeper understanding of life and have never felt closer to God.
I started Zenith Ministries, officially receiving our business license this week, so that we may now operate as a professional entity in serving Gen Z and Millennials as they walk with God and help them overcome their obstacles. So far it has been amazing! I am so thankful for our team, the work we have been doing, and for the people I am encountering on this new mission.
For my family and I, 2020 has had its moments of difficulty and sadness, but it is still a year of new promises and goodness. Unfortunately, for many the song has been different. So many have died this year. So many have suffered through terrible situations like job loss, financial struggles, and uncomfortable working/living conditions. I imagine that sheltering in place for many was not a good experience.
Throughout this year, I have kept in mind that so many have been greatly burdened and struggled. My heart and prayers go out to you. Suffering and pain are not things to be ignored or belittled, and I sincerely hope all those going through tough times right now are able to persevere and see better days soon.
It has been devastating to read the news as of late about all the division, hurt, and frustration for so many. My aim here is to not overlook, but to provide a vision for a way to a better 2020 as we finish this tumultuous year, as damaging as it has been. Because, frankly, there is still hope for peace and joy for all of us despite what has already happened.
This November marks the 102nd anniversary of the end of World War I. In the Spring of 1918, it had not been known whether the Germans would win the Great War, as both sides were suffering heavy casualties. However, after signing a treaty with the Russians, the Germans were able to focus only on the Western front. They launched the Spring Offensive during which they gained much territory and began shelling Paris.
The world had been ravaged by war for four long years, and up until that point, it seemed as if Germany was set to win the Great War. It was probably devastating for those who lived at that time, as they did not yet know of the amazing comeback that occurred during the summer of 1918.
The war would end seven months later with the allies on top. A significant turn of events, proving that we can’t truly know what will happen in the closing months of our own tumultuous year. Even though it looks grim, even though many are suffering, there is always room for victory for each of us.
The opportunity for each human to overcome and transcend suffering is always present in the human experience. If we seek Jesus and give Him permission to work in our lives, He will lift us up over any negative situation that we find ourselves in. It doesn’t mean that the pain is removed, but it does become easier to bear.
With Jesus, we can turn this defeating year into one of triumph. If we grow in our relationship with Him, He will give us new life and new purpose that will eclipse every negative aspect of our entire lives and show us a better way to live. It’s difficult to explain, but with a real relationship with Jesus, He will deliver us, “even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death”.
This has been my experience with Him, as it has with countless others. Jesus truly saves. He truly wipes away tears and helps us get through the difficult times. Even if the world around us is falling apart, each one of us can begin thriving right now. With Jesus we can thrive.
If you are seeking this relationship and hoping to make 2020 a year of victory and new life, here are a few steps to help:
- Seek God in the quiet moments. Take time throughout your day to quietly reflect on the presence of God. Sit in silence, even if it is only an interior silence because you are surrounded by noise and listen for what God wants to tell you. Even if you do not hear or sense anything, this act is very pleasing to God and will improve your faith life.
- Seek God in Scripture. All the better if you can take a course to learn more about the context, timeline, and message found in the Bible, but even just opening the Good Book and reading a few minutes a day is a tremendous step in your relationship with God. The Bible contains the significant words He wants us to know.
- Seek God in your Neighbor. Every human being regardless of race, gender, political stance, and past mistakes is made in the image of God. Nothing will ever change this. If we can view our neighbors in this light, we allow ourselves the chance to know God in them. Every person points us to God in some degree, and every time we serve our neighbor, we serve Him who loves us and our neighbor.
- Seek God in Your Heart. When we are in a state of grace, the Triune God dwells within us and we are actual Temples of the Holy Spirit. This is an incredible reality that has tremendous implications that we will not fully know until many years from now. If you think that you have fallen from the state of grace, find a priest to hear your confession. That is a slight moment of discomfort that can bear fruit that is more than worth it. I know this from experience.
- Seek God Wherever You Are. If you can go to Church during these times, that is great! By all means, go. However, God wants us to know Him beyond the building. Allow your experience from Church to infiltrate the rest of your week. Keep in mind what you received from your last visit each day, recalling the goodness the Lord wants for you. He is with you, wherever you are. And while Church is the best place to build our relationship with Him, there is more to our life than Sunday. Visit with God whenever you can to grow in your relationship with Him.
Each of these steps opens our hearts more to God, allowing Him to work in our lives. When we welcome Him, He works for us. It is not always what we expect, but it will surpass our expectations. Go to Him in these steps with trust that He will deliver you and you will see a very different conclusion to your 2020.
If you are seeking assistance with this, please visit the services section of our website to see the services we offer in our hopes to help others. We are now accepting clients for our one- on-one mentorship program that is offered both in North Georgia and nationwide. Please contact us for more details.