On the eve of 2018 the Lord impressed upon me that any difficulty I would experience in 2019 would be a matter of perception. The struggle would be against old thinking. Time and again in 2019 I would find that word from the Lord a comfort as I worked to renew my mind. I had to stop anticipating struggle. This required an adjustment forcing me to stop assuming a potential obstacle would become a hardship.
Worry creates a storm of difficulty that the thing itself would never bring if we did not add worrying about it to the equation. Worry gives us a reality of the worst happening when it is our worry creating the storm of negative emotions and not whatever is actually transpiring.
The Lord worked with me throughout 2019 to think differently. To lift up my eyes to Him and off what I perceived as roadblocks or difficult experiences to see His goodness through each and every obstacle of life.
Then 2020 came – a year of dystopian mayhem.
I was unable to enter 2020 on purpose as I usually do as I was so sick that I slept while the ball dropped. And yet 2020 has been a year like no other. It commenced for me sans voice. I had completely lost my voice for several weeks. But despite all that 2020 has been, it has been a year of wonder and joy full of thanksgiving and the goodness of the Lord.
I had spent many years prior learning to not be shaken. Through lots of shaking and tumultuous experiences I learned to rest in the goodness of the Lord. At a much higher level this is what David wrote about in the Psalms 91 “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” None of the turmoil of this past year changed my outlook. I had internalized word of the Lord in 2019 and He prepared me through it for 2020.
I am not discounting the very real struggle and loss many have experienced this year. My circumstances were not spectacular. Many of my plans were waylaid. But I did not focus on what Covid-19 and the global and local reaction to it caused for me. I focused on the goodness of God. I enjoyed all the simple things of life with such pleasure.
Many times, I found myself saying “I planned to do this in 2020, but Covid. . .” Then I came to confess instead, “but God” for God turned my year around at every juncture I encountered a “but Covid.”
The arrival of 2021 – 2020 continued
Now contemplating 2021 which we have now entered, I think living in the Kingdom will be even more important. Doing so is not ignoring reality but responding to it from heaven’s perspective. It is not optimism; it is biblical hope.
The situation we face as a nation is not disappearing with the change of the year. This new year is not a demarcation of the ending of what we have been experiencing in the world today. The dystopian mayhem of 2020 is likely going to continue with more difficult days ahead.
We have some real wounds in this nation which we have seen come to the surface in 2020. It had to come to the forefront as it was boiling beneath the surface and requires healthy attention. These upheavals cannot be forgotten as there is a great deal that we can and must do better at as we find our way forward in our nation.
I believe the polarization that has created deep scars of disunity in our nation will continue to grow unless we become the change agents that embrace nuance, patience, a listening ear, a discerning nature, and the wisdom of the Lord to know when to speak and when to hold our tongue. Our words can be reckless even when true. Our words can be destructive even when the are not in error. But we also can be in error and not know it. If we cannot hold that that is possible, we are already too polarized to see clearly. The truth is not usually in what is popular. When everyone you hear is saying the same thing and none of the voices you are listening to are providing a fresh perspective with greater nuance and thought you may only be feeding on popular rhetoric and not truth. (The rough draft of this article was written on New Year’s Eve before this week’s events.)
Seeing with hope
I get concerned when everyone I talk to is giving me the same phrases and emphatic statements about how bad the nation is as everyone else. I am looking for those who have voices of hope. Not hope for their desired series of events, or political party, or political candidate, but hope in general for the nation.
We may have a lot of uncertainty right now as to who to believe and what is going on in our nation. Uncertainty in this is good. We have never been in this place before as a nation. But what we can bank on is that God’s Kingdom is expanding, and His goodness is everlasting. We can live out of the Kingdom and make earth look like heaven when we show up on the scene.
If the world is moving beneath your feet, it is not the world’s shaking you need to concern yourself with. When we have built our lives on the solid Rock (Jesus) and are living in community (the Church) with the saints we have no reason for shaking. We can be the safe non-shaking ground that brings the light of truth to the darkness. We ought not be the doomsdayers, but the hope-harbingers.
No more should we be saying, “but Covid” , “but the liberals”, “but the election”, “but the corruption”, “but the fake news”. . . No! Instead, it should be, “but God”, “but the Kingdom is at hand,” “but we are the light of the world!” Unless you think something out there is more powerful and can be more successful than God’s Kingdom?
2021 is a compounding of what has been sown. But God! We can see such amazing progress in the reforming of our nation, in the enjoyment of the joy of the Lord, in growing together in strong healthy church communities, in reforming our nation. God is not worried. We have such great assignments to disciple our nation in truth.
We are going to have to let go of some of our assumptions of what God is doing as we enter 2021 and find out what He has for us to do in 2021 and beyond as we bring God’s Kingdom where God has placed us thereby impacting our nation in critical ways.
Stay tuned for more to come – I have a lot welling up within me which I will be writing on in the coming days.
To reform a nation, you need to know what makes a nation truly great. Understanding America’s beginnings creates a pathway forward for all nations. From America’s first President, to the birth of capitalism, to the shaping of its institutions, Karla Perry shows the reader what makes nations flourish.
“Karla has important insights into some of the critical issues of our times. She has the ability to articulate them in an interesting and engaging way that is also practical.”
Rick Joyner, Founder and President, MorningStar Ministries
“An enemy is not needed to destroy a great civilization. It can self-destruct by forgetting the ideas that made its language, literature, family, education, politics, economy, laws and judiciary great. Many feel the need to re-form America that no longer knows what is love, marriage, divorce, male and female, family or nation. In this powerful premier, Karla Perry explains what made America great in the first place and how it can again become a blessing to its citizens and a light to the world.”
Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi, Author of The Book That Made Your World
“At no time in the last five hundred years has the understanding of reformation been so clearly and poignantly captured. Through exploring some of the greatest and most critical turning points of America’s history, Perry brilliantly articulates centuries of complex cultural progression into its simplest form. As leaders we must know and understand the time and season we’re in in order to wisely discern the critical role we can play in the formation of America’s destiny. The Reformation of America is a deep and genuine dive into the ripe landscape on which we now stand; poised for the ultimate fulfillment of a vision now thousands of years old. Though many have been waiting on the next great move of God, there are many who believe that God has been waiting on us. Now is the time for our courageous ‘yes’. We are about to be set as a nation high upon a hill. Perry passionately invites us into this calling.”
Anna Kramer, Founder, Commissioned , http://www.becommissoned.com