Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Daniel 9:18 (NIV).
I’m going against popular opinion here and saying that 2020 wasn’t all that bad. Sure, the covid epidemic blew up and killed more people than the flu (which mysteriously disappeared; but that is for another blog). Nations and states shut down and the economy then tanked, causing unemployment, discouragement, and panic. There were riots in all the major cities. Government did what government does: nothing good. The election was a rollercoaster. And 2021 hasn’t been a walk in the park like everyone hoped it would be.
It wasn’t that bad? Yes. Consider that miracle treatments for a brand new disease were devised in record time by a team of focused professionals; time will tell if they are effective. Our system, flawed as it is, survived very real threats of illegality, some of which are still playing out. Most people have food on the table and a roof over their heads. Things are re-opened, or are re-opening. Jesus has truly blessed us: all because of what happened last year in 2020. Though it was awful in many ways, it wasn’t that bad..
Why can I say that? Because of the kind of prayer prayed by Daniel. He asked God to bend His ear to the plight of His people, who were suffering. He prayed knowing that he (Daniel) wasn’t righteous, wasn’t God, but that God was. He prayed because he understood that, above all else, our God is merciful in ways we can only begin to imagine.
God had preserved His people through war, exile, and prophecies of harder times to come. He gave them food, shelter, air in their lungs, hope in their hearts…just like He does to us today. Jesus gave Israel His blessings and His favor even though He and they knew they didn’t deserve them…just like He does to us today. Any objective analysis would have to conclude that the year Israel was captured into Babylonian exile was far worse (for them) than 2020 was for us. More people died; more people lost their homes; more was destroyed and turned upside down than had ever happened since the time of Moses.
And yet God was still merciful. Just like He is with us. None of this makes light of real suffering, real people who have really hurt. But let’s please remember that, through it all, the God of the universe is righteous and merciful to every one of us because that’s who He is, even in the ‘hell-year’ 2020.
For further reading: Deuteronomy 28:10, Psalm 5:1, Psalm 116:1, Isaiah 37:17, Jeremiah 7:10-12, Daniel 9:19
Merciful Lord, thank You for always providing for me, for protecting us in times of hardship and plenty
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