Alexander Pope said: Swift fly the years. Of this 2020, I can say: swift flies the year. How shall we describe our perplexing and bizarre two thirds of this first year of the twenties-decade? Peculiar, astonishing, odd, weird – of course, we can use a whole series of adjectives and they could all apply, except maybe normal, average, conventional or run-of-the-mill. We were all challenged out of our comfort zones, out of the ordinary and into a new and scary, never-before scenario of events.
Every now and then the thought of unreal came to me. I slept in the spare room for fourteen days since my husband had to isolate after a trip abroad. I associate the room with late night paging through the news. Waking up and thinking that it could not be happening. I had to stretch my mind to absorb the death, fear and unrest of the poor, hurting people.
By middle March the church-voice became louder for those whose ears were inclined. I prayed with Watchmen over the Nations, sharpening my Zoom-skills to become part of world-wide prayer, conducted from Jerusalem by Messianic Jews. Prophetic voices became prominent. The word “reset” was often heard. I prayed that God would put our hurting and evil world on a new course, cracking down on trafficking of people and substances for instance.
Recently the same word, found its way into the speeches of the Secretary-General of the UN, the IMF and even Prince Charles, who all announced, “The Great Reset” , a new global order that apparently started on June 3, 2020 already. We have to see what comes from that.
Slowly the economic crisis came to the forefront. The American politics and street unrest are still the thick, black print of the news headings, whether in print or on screen. We are moving into the third third of the year. Very few people on our planet can say that their lives have had no impact by the events of this year. Well, maybe a few in very isolated, rural places have not been touched, but I think overall, the larger majority will remember this year as extreme in so many ways. Just think how many people had to cope with the death of a loved one, without the normal rituals of farewell and mourning.
Where are you in your thoughts this day? What would be your greatest concern between now and Christmas?
I often prayed the words of the Psalms.
Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings, (Psalms 17:8)
Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the great mountains;
Your judgments are a great deep;
O Lord, You preserve man and beast.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. (Psalms 36:5-7)
Let us rejoice in the poetry of these verses in The Message.
God’s love is meteoric,
his loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic,
his verdicts oceanic.
Yet in his largeness
nothing gets lost;
Not a man, not a mouse,
slips through the cracks.
How exquisite your love, O God!
How eager we are to run under your wings,
To eat our fill at the banquet you spread
as you fill our tankards with Eden spring water.
You’re a fountain of cascading light,
and you open our eyes to light. (Psalms 36:5-9)
It was the phrase: under Your wings, that spoke to me. I wanted to be hidden, not exposed and delivered to the whacky walk of 2020. In my mind’s eye I “saw” myself and all my loved ones under the gigantic wings of an eagle, high up on a cliff under a rock, untouchable, unreachable, very safe.
But, some or other time, we have to get up and live, make new plans and look to the future with expectation that God will make a way in the wilderness, just like He promises – always. Here in the Northern hemisphere, September is the start of a new school year, in America already at the end of August. The kids learn about physical distancing, masks in the classroom, washing their hands, etcetera. One day they might tell their children about all the measures of this new school year during the virus.
The name of the virus is corona. It is the Latin for crown. One would be able to say that this year is crowned with the virus, but I refuse to do that. I know better. This is what the Word of God says:
You crown the year with Your goodness,
And Your paths drip with abundance. (Psalms 65:11)
These words are my declaration over 2020. It is not a year stamped by corona-virus but a year marked by the goodness and abundance of God. How will we know that we need God’s abundance if everything runs smoothly? We are cruelly jolted out of our “normal” to look up and acknowledge our Provider.
Walk with me in the pages of the ancient prophet Zechariah for a new take on the words he uttered so incredibly long ago.
Then I answered and said to him, “What are these two olive trees—at the right of the lampstand and at its left?” And I further answered and said to him, “What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?”
Then he answered me and said, “Do you not know what these are?”
And I said, “No, my lord.”
So he said, “These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.” (Zechariah 4:11-14)
It was special oil that kept the lamps in the Temple burning. The lamp is the church. Jesus stood amongst the lampstands in Revelation 1. The oil is the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Light, as He himself has said. When we, the true church (the invisible body of believers) do not let the oil flow throughout the lampstand so that the light of Christ is burning and the Presence of God is manifested over the whole earth, the lamp-light is dead and the earth is dark. It is the symbolism throughout the Old and New Testaments. Think of the parable of the Virgins in Matthew 25.
Two olive trees on either side of the lamp will keep the lamp burning.
In our lives it is the Holy Spirit that fills us up with oil so that the Light of Christ can burn in us. We have to be full of oil. The commentary on Zechariah talks about the fresh oil for the lamp. We are the people of the fresh oil. It is our inner renewal and insight that keeps the light burning to shine upon the miracles and powerful working of God in this world.
It is the light of Jesus that shines into the future. It is in the expectation of what He does, that we can march confidently towards the end of the year, without doubt and fear. We are the anointed ones in service of the Body of Christ, the true church.
How do we fill up with fresh oil? We ask. Pray with me:
Lord Jesus, please fill me with your Holy Spirit, the Breath of God, so that I will experience the powerful indwelling of your Spirit in my being.
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over. (Psalms 23:5)