Most times in life when we are going through something, we feel like we are on our own. Even when friends and family are supportive and praying for us, we can feel a little isolated or lonely as we process and make our way through the situation. Our amazing God can use challenging times to create beautiful testimonies. When we surrender to him, lean on him, and desire his will to be done, unimaginable things can and will happen.
2020 has been an unprecedented year for our country and our world. As a nation, we have all been (and continue to go through) a challenge at the same time. We have had feelings of uncertainty in our safety, economy & future. We have cried in sorrow as we watched this pandemic take lives, and fear for our loved ones and ourselves, our hearts break as we hear of people dying all alone in a hospital, we feel disappointment for missed celebration and family gatherings, we worry about our children’s education and well-being, and continued feelings of isolation and loneliness swept through our nation. The devil has been hard at work in 2020. He is speaking his native language of lies, worry and fear over us. Thankfully our Lord is bigger than the evil one, and God can use these challenging times to teach and reveal new things to us.
This month we asked you, our Pause & Pray readers, to share with us the wisdoms God revealed to you in 2020! Months ago, when we decided on this topic for December, I started asking the Lord what revelation he had for me. The words he gave me were from a song that I sang in church growing up that were written by Edward Mote.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
During this year of day after day worldly disappointments, I was so thankful to have this truth from God. God revealed to me that I had some areas in my life that I needed to make sure weren’t more important than him. As traditions were changed and events were cancelled, my ground became the sinking sand, I found myself disappointed, angry and weepy. Thankfully, God is true to his word and always near, he invited me back onto solid ground with open arms to work through my disappointments together.
Below our PrayerBowl Community shared their thoughts & wisdom with us. We were not able to share them all, but appreciate hearing from all who shared what God had put on their hearts.
During this trying time of the 2020 Pandemic, God has been present when taking a walk with neighbors, reconnecting with old friends via Facebook or phone calls, and spending precious time with family once we were able to get together. I have taken delight in the small things, the slower pace of life, and given thanks for my blessings, even in time of need. God is good...all the time! Mary - Pearland, TX - Retired teacher.
49 years ago a pastor sat in a chair by my hospital bed and prayed that God would heal me of all my depression. God heard that prayer and answered it 49 years later. God is faithful and does things in His own time! Never ever give up because victory will come! - Nancy
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was reading the Pause and Pray. It was suggested that we read the 91st Psalm daily. I have did just that. A friend suggested that I substitute my name in the last verse in place of any pronouns. What a blessing that has been! Claudia - Michigan - Retired teacher
I have a large testimony, but will share with you one aspect. I am allergic to many things, including smoke, so obviously I stay away from smokers and also have to stay indoors when there are major fires near me. The Bobcat fire (in CA) was close enough to me that I was indoors almost the whole of 5-6 weeks. Smoke causes my throat to go very hoarse for weeks on end depending on how long I am exposed to smoke, even though it is a long way away. It also takes a long time to recover. But God was there for me and my soul rests in Him and I can hang on in spite of it all because of Him. He is greater than my allergy. Amelia - Wilmington, CA
I already knew it but this year has proven again that I made the right choice 51 years ago. My husband is a great Christian husband and father. There is NO ONE I would have wanted to spend this chaotic year with than him! Sharon - Tennessee, semi-retired
The year 2020 was a year of many losses, my cousin, my Dad and my husband. The pain of separation is very hard to describe as there are so many emotions felt. However, God showed up. He taught me to live in the moment and not to fear no matter how overwhelming I felt that moment was a gift to me in my healing process. Rev Liz - HealthCare Chaplain - VA
We have been blessed in numerous ways all year long. GOD has spoken in many instances. For us to Be Still! Know That I am GOD! We trust he will guide our leaders and our loved ones and all who trust in HIM - to take one day at a time and Be Thankful for tons of blessings in our lives ! Be happy - Be Thankful always! GOD BLESS AMERICA & all who live or enter here. - Violet
In 2020, the Lord has taught me to trust his timing. My adult daughter is estranged from me, her choice, due to her life choices. I pray for her everyday and the holidays are tough. This heartache has drawn me closer to God, being in the word and going to church. I thought I knew God, but until this happened in our family, I really never knew what it meant to step out in faith, and truly trust God. Hugs, Maria - Pittsburgh, PA - retired
My name is Martha and I definitely have the personality of Martha from the book of Luke where Jesus says to her “Martha you are worried and anxIous about many things.” A surprising thing has happened in 2020, with so many things cancelled, I have learned to be a “Mary”. What an honor to be able to sit at the feet of Jesus, The Word who became flesh, and discover Him anew through His Word and through prayer.
I started the year 2020 with cancer surgery at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL. I went into surgery with a strong faith that God would take care of me AND HE DID! I was blessed with many prayer warriors in my life and kept adding my own personal prayers and gratitude to my prayer bowl. I am so blessed. I know how much God loves His faithful children. Karen - Dunedin, FL - Retired Special Education teacher
After a difficult pregnancy going to the doctors alone b/c of the pandemic and seeing possible issues on the ultrasound, the doctor constantly pushed for an abortion. We had a baby girl, Candace at 33 weeks and she lived 32 days in the NICU. And her life was worth the 32 precious days we were given from the Lord. We learned what really matters is our relationship with the Lord and how much we needed him during such a hard season and God is good and faithful and always takes care of you . And because of this relationship we know our baby girl is in heaven and we will see her again. Charlotte - WV
In April of 2019, I found Jesus! After many, many years of darkness from obesity, severe depression, several health issues, alcoholism, gambling addiction and many immoral and unethical actions, I found the one and only Savior. No one coached me, talked to me or prayed with me on that day. I just woke up and asked God to fix me. I asked for forgiveness of my awful sins. I cried for help. He sent Jesus to me that day. Now, on the last day of November 2020 this is how He fixed me: absolutely no depression, lost over 130lbs, no underlying health issues, went from 12 pills a day to 3 a day, no desire for alcohol or gambling and no desire for immoral or unethical living. I have a peace within me that is indescribable. I laugh and smile. I’m working again (after 13 years of sitting on the couch). I feel love for others more deeply. I have a new desire for life. I have a church to worship our Lord. I read my Bible each day, listen to devotionals, listen to songs of worship, but most importantly I feel loved and a self worth I have never felt. I’m in love with Jesus! From the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep, I humbly thank God for saving me from my worldly hell and my eternal hell. Everyone’s struggles are different. Everyone’s sins are their own. But, the peace you get when you give your life back to God is everyone’s. I pray that my testimony will give someone struggling with their own sin, the courage and desire to bow down and allow God to fix them. I pray they receive Jesus and God’s great love today. Sharon
God taught me two important things. One, to surrender to Him, despite how the world appears, and two to pray without ceasing. There is always hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Nina - Spokane, WA
This has been a very trying year for our family due to this pandemic, I lost my sister to Covid two months ago and 2 days ago my brother-in-law. I stand on God’s promise that he is using all this pain and suffering for his glory. It is His will, not ours, his ways are not our ways and Faith is the substance of things not seen yet. We have to believe in his Word!! I will not be shaken!! ‘‘People may forget what you said or what you did , but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Ellie
My spiritual journey started almost 6 months ago with my reconnection to God through my Step work in Narcotics Anonymous. I was emotionally and spiritually bankrupt and had given up on ever having a life worth living again. But God never gave up on me and waited patiently for me to step back into the flock. I'm blessed by his unconditional love, acceptance and have faith in my future as long as I follow his way! Amen. Diana - Kansas City, MO - Disabled
Being a widow for four years and praying God would fulfill Jeremiah 29:11 in my life, I am overwhelmed but not surprised at his faithfulness. My house was not even on the market but he sent cash buyers (sweet Christian couple) and moved me to a home 300 miles away, 15 miles from my daughter. A move during Covid has its challenges, but not when He’s in control. He led me to a wonderful community and a group of sweet Christian ladies called “Crafters for Christ” in a wonderful Church where the Word is proclaimed. Yes, His plans are always better than ours. Leola - Frisco, TX - Retired
I’ve learned to stop and reflect on the goodness only HE can provide. He that placed each star in the Heaven’s will see us through this pandemic. Jesus loves us so much, He just wants us back. Paula
As a recent widow, I have struggled in trying to manage all that I’m left with, as well as, my grief and loneliness. I have drawn closer to the Lord, remembering scriptures that speak to His care of widows and orphans. What the Lord has shown me, through reflection of past milestones, is that He goes ahead of us. I remind myself daily of this when I find I’m worrying over the future and what to do next. He goes before me! I need not fear or be anxious. Deuteronomy 31:8 - And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Linda - FL
Way back in February, or early March, not sure, a message came to me in the morning, at the moment I was waking from sleep. I heard the words spoken, "Go to the top of the mountain, the battle is about to begin." As I heard this spoken, I turned to look over my shoulder and I saw a person in a short light colored robe, holding a banner in front of them with those same words I heard printed on the banner. Then, I immediately fully awoke. I don't know for sure what I am supposed to do with that message, but it turned out to be quite meaningful as evidenced by the happenings this year of 2020. Praying for all, in the name of Jesus. Michele
Thanks to my prayer bowl (and Sue Monk Kidd's Book of Longings), I have found teaching online to be a blessing. It gives me time to see the faces of my many university students, and I use my prayer bowl to pray ALL of them and focus in on special needs. The prayer bowl has given me FOCUS. I know what is truly important in life now, more than ever. Dr. Susan James
In 2019 I went through 10 months of treatments for a very aggressive cancer. It prepared me for what 2020 has turned out to be. I am so Grateful to be alive and so Thankful for God's Faithfulness and Mercy towards me. He prepared me last year for the social distancing and isolation of this year. I continue to grow in my "Casting my Cares" on Him. Carole
I have two statements I share with people quite frequently when they talk about sharing the Gospel and facing difficulties in life.
One, just take God at his word! (let the Holy Spirit guide you and don’t try to read more into it.) God has made it so simple even a dumb old guy like me can understand! Two, just do what Jesus did! (If you interact with people the way Jesus did, you will do great (even in the face of adversity)). David, Frisco, TX - (David manufactures our PrayerBoards and mentors Tom & Karen)
I am our church administrator and a retired teacher of 35 years. 2020 has indeed been a year to remember. Our small church has become stronger in our faith and closer to each other even though we haven’t been in the church building together since March. Our prayer life and mission to reach out to help our neighbors is still strong. We are meeting outside for worship and online as well. During hard times, I think people draw from their faith and strength in the Lord. We do. We Pause and Pray daily through the emails and prayer lists I send and our phone calls and Zoom meetings. The church has now proven that it is the people not the building… May God bless us all and keep our eyes and hearts focused on the One who shelters us from the storms of life. Janie
To end this month's blog, I wanted to share the words that a wise friend recently sent to me. They are words we proclaim each Christmas as sing O Holy Night, but this year these words resonate in a way they may have never before. “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.” Today, our world is weary and we need this thrill of hope more than ever. This year has been difficult for most, and just outright awful for some. But, Jesus came to give us hope. He came to be a light in this world, he came to take the burdens away and give us the promise of eternal paradise. What a beautiful hope to rejoice this Christmas. God Bless, Karen.