Do you have 2020 vision?
Or, do you have 20/20 vision?
This year has been rough. We have all experienced some level of turmoil in our lives. From lost jobs to lost loved ones. From emotional turmoil to physical exhaustion. From fear to never-ending anxiety.
We have watched as normal vanished to be replaced by a new normal: mask covering our faces, inability to touch the ones we love, quarantine at various levels. Everything is difficult. And much of it is hard.
We have come to realize that pain and loss are simply synonymous with 2020.
But how will we reflect on 2020 next year? Or five years from now? Or ten years from now? Will we remember the pain or will we eventually find the blessings that—quite frankly—are right here around us. Every moment. Every day.
Will we eventually replace our 2020 vision with 20/20 vision?
This week, I ran across a scripture in Hosea 6 that takes me back to March of 2016 every time I read it:
“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. Hosea 6:1
I remember reading those words, and they simply penetrated my heart. I couldn’t get them out of my mind for days to come, constantly returning to them and thinking about how God allows things into our lives so we can know Him better, more intimately. But, the reality of why God allowed these words to penetrate my heart and mind did not become obvious for a couple of weeks.
One morning in early April, I received a call that my ex-husband had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. I immediately knew God had given me these words to prepare me for the storm to come. As I rushed to my children, those words rang through my mind reminding me that although the pain was indescribable in the moment, the day would come when my children would experience the overwhelming healing of the Savior. God replaced my 2020 vision with 20/20 vison.
But replacing 2020 vision doesn’t always come immediately.
When I first learned of my then-husband’s affair, I guarantee you I had 2020 vision. All I could see and hear and feel was the pain and devastation. I wanted to die rather than face the destruction that had become my life. The fear and loss and anxiety were absolutely overwhelming.
As the years have passed, I have come to see the journey with a totally different perspective. You see, God protected me in so many ways by allowing my husband to have an affair. Because of my biblical interpretation, I would have never walked away from my marriage without an affair because I didn’t see a biblical reason. And yet, the affair and refusal to repent gave me the reason to take my kids and escape—escape to a life filled with peace and tranquility. It was the separation that gave me 20/20 vision to understand just how dysfunctional my home and family had been. It gave me the ability to raise my kids in an environment that fostered their health in so many ways. It wasn’t perfect and they definitely bear their scars, but what we had over the last decade was far better than what we would have experienced without his affair.
It’s not just the really bad things. I remember those early years of single parenting and the loneliness and pain. But it was in those early days that God gave me Daniel 10:12:
Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.
Those words were God’s promise to me that He would bring me a husband to love me the way He meant for me to be loved. He had heard my prayers, but something was holding up the plan.
Do you know what else happened at almost the exact same time? I reconnected with a high school friend named Roy. I guess you could say the rest is history.
But God couldn’t allow Roy and I to short-circuit the work He needed to do in our lives. At the time, Roy was running from God and drowning his pain in rum and Coke. For me, on the other hand, God needed to do some healing work to prepare me for the work He had for me.
Looking back today, my 2020 vision of the experience has been replaced with 20/20 vision.
I’m sure you can see my point: our vision and perspective determine the way we view life and circumstances. It is obvious that consciously choosing to replace 2020 vision with 20/20 vision will benefit and all of those around us. But how, exactly, do we choose 20/20 vision?
Focus on God. We must learn to keep our minds stayed on the Father no matter what chaos swirls around us.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3
His peace is certain to transform our lives, our perspectives, when we have our minds intently focused on Him, on His word, on His character. When we remember that He is good and works all things for our good (Romans 8:28), we will have hope that this season will pass and we will be blessed with 20/20 vision.
Reflect on His past faithfulness. Have you ever thought about how often the Israelites reflected on the exodus from Israel? Of all the times He came through at just the right time? Of how He parted the Red Sea and provided manna every morning and evening?
The Israelites knew that reflecting on His past faithfulness would bolster their faith in their current circumstances. It would give them the much needed hope to wait in expectation for Him to come through—at just the right time.
Lift your voice in praise. You know those times when you simply don’t feel like praising Him? Those are the very times we need to turn our hearts and voices toward heaven.
Much of the Old Testament is poetry—or songs that the Israelites sang to God. Can’t you hear the enormous army of people raising their voices together, singing of God’s goodness! What an angelic melody it must have been! And we need to remember that it’s hard to keep our eyes on the circumstances around us when our hearts are lifted to Him.
As 2020 winds down, can we all commit together to replace our 2020 vision with God’s 20/20 vision?
Father, it has been a hard year. We have seen so much fear and loss. Anxiety seems to overwhelm us. Yet, when we reflect on who you are, your goodness and grace, we know you are still in control. Help us to develop eyes to see from your perspective. Bless us with the perspective to have 20/20 vision even in the chaos. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.