And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those
who are called according to his purpose.
With all the pain, heartache, and change that has occurred in 2020, that verse may be difficult for some to understand. We must trust God though, because when we love Him and follow Him, He uses everything for our good. Trials can grow us. Heartache can focus our hearts more on Him. Change can make us more resilient and able to respond better in challenging times.
In 2015, I was frustrated with the military. I was a junior NCO with many years in service, and an excellent service record, yet I watched as my peers and friends were promoted, and I was not. I couldn’t fathom why my career was on hold. I believed I had done everything in my power to move ahead, yet I stayed behind. God was using this moment to grow me. I was struggling to do everything in MY POWER, and not His. God wanted me to focus on Him, and His desires.
When I was finally able to get the focus off me, and on to God, wonderful things started to happen. I became more content, happier, more resilient, and more focused on God. All those things would have made the trial more than worth it, but God did two more amazing things. I received a rank promotion in 2016, and in 2020, I received another promotion. These promotions came at the perfect time and place as well, and setup an opportunity for me to be in a unit where I could spend more time with my family. If I was promoted on my time, I would have missed this amazing opportunity.
I realize the above pales in comparison to what many are struggling with during this pandemic, but God can be using this to grow you, and cause you to focus more on Him. As we move into 2021, this is a great chance to start over, and start placing our focus on Christ.
It says in 1 Peter 4:19, “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
When we are struggling, we need to focus on God, who is faithful, and continue to follow Him. He does some of His most amazing work when we are at our lowest points. One of my favorites verses is James 1:12: Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. Whenever I am going through a trial, I remember that God has promised good things to me, and it gives me the encouragement to continue fighting.
As the pandemic rages on as we go into 2021, make a New Year’s resolution to put more focus on Christ. Life can be difficult, and COVID-19 has made it tougher, but God is faithful, and can use these difficult times to grow us into the men and women that He desires us to be.
Joshua Bixler is a Christian, husband, father, and a Sunday School teacher for 5th grade boys. He is a veteran of two combat deployments to Afghanistan, and loves military history. He and his wife create tabletop RPG gaming products for their publishing label Bix Six Adventures on the DriveThruRPG website.