Welcome to 2021! I have heard a lot of people say they would be glad when 2020 is over. The turning of a calendar does not mean that anything really changes. What we encounter may be very similar.
The coronavirus pandemic has altered our lives in unforgettable ways. We have lost precious friends and relatives. People have suffered economically. Our lives have been impacted to the point they may never return to what we call normal. A vaccine and better treatment may help but there will always be the specter of some dreaded disease beyond the horizon.
The political climate in our country is toxic. Irreparable damage to relationships and even ministries has taken place. While what kind of leaders we have matters, our concern as believers must ultimately be about the advancement of the gospel. Being the citizens of two worlds is difficult. Some are too heavenly minded to be any earthly good; others are so earthly minded that they are no heavenly good. Balance is vital.
Racial conflict has reached a fever pitch in our country. I know that some of our brothers and sisters have suffered because of the sin of racism. Even important issues in our society must be viewed through our identity as followers of Christ. Galatians 3:28 tells us we are brothers and sisters in the Lord. Our fellowship is based on him, not the color of our skin or our ethnicity. We are one in Christ.
As most of you know, I am transitioning from my role as executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Our staff has been repositioned to serve the churches better. The SBTC is financially sound. We are looking to the future with great anticipation of God’s favor. Soon my responsibility before the Lord for leading this ministry will be over. The next leader will have challenges I cannot even imagine. With the baggage of today and the uncertainty of tomorrow, what are we to do?
There is only one answer to this question. It is found in Psalm 121. There were many other contributors to the divine song book besides David. Some scholars say that Hezekiah could have written this Psalm. Hezekiah was a good king of Judah, but he often found himself in a difficult place. Isaiah 36 tells of an army threatening to destroy Jerusalem. Hezekiah cast himself on the Lord because he knew he could not win the battle. This Psalm could be Hezekiah’s tribute to God’s presence in time of trouble.
The question in verse one is, “I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from?” If Hezekiah wrote this Psalm, he could have been discounting the pagan religious practices often held on high places. Assistance would not come from these. He could have been looking for the armies of Egypt to appear on the horizon to break the siege of the city. In verse two we find the Psalmist’s answer, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Our help will not come from creation or creature but the Creator. Help does not come from the mountains but from the One who made them. He is the sovereign God of the universe. Our God is like no other. We look to him regardless of what year it is, or what our circumstances are. As we press on through 2021, let us stay together for Jesus’ sake. Let us look to our Lord who will either deliver us from chaos or through it.
Let us look up for this could be the year Jesus comes again! Maranatha!