It’s safe to say that 2020 has been one of the most challenging years we have had to face, not only as individuals, but as a global entity.
What with dealing with daily infection updates, feeling anxiety about the future, and adapting to the COVID lifestyle in general, we can easily overlook the times that God has blessed us with His goodness, mercy, and even miracles throughout this year.
King David wrote in Psalm 23:5 that the Lord “prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” David knew that God’s goodness was always present, even amidst adversity and strife. By penning Psalm 23, David found a creative way to remind himself of this important truth.
A few years ago, I started practicing these five ways to remember God’s goodness, and they have proved especially helpful in 2020 when the world as we knew it spun out of control, and made a huge difference in the way I responded to the circumstances around me.
As we begin 2021, a year with many unknown and uncertainties, I’d like to encourage you to give these five creative habits a try:
1. Start a Gratitude Journal
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
You don’t need to wait until the New Year arrives to start keeping a journal, especially one where we can record our gratitude as a response to God’s mercy and grace in our lives.
A gratitude journal is a great way of recording daily acts of God’s goodness, that can otherwise go unnoticed amidst the challenges of our current, pandemic lifestyle.
In my gratitude journal, l regularly record the times that God brought friendly people on my path that made my day brighter, or when He left me that last jar of pesto in the supermarket when l absolutely needed pesto! These little events may seem insignificant and easily overlooked, but they help remind us that God is good to us, even in the smallest of ways.
By reading regularly over our entries, we can revel in how God showed us His love and provision in ways we didn’t perceive at the time.
2. Make a Miracle Jar
“He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.” – Deuteronomy 10:21
My husband and l like to use a Miracle Jar to remember the times that God brought us favour and provision in ways that didn’t seem humanly possibly at the time. These are usually “big ticket” items like spiritual and financial breakthroughs, and giving us much-needed peace in the midst of turbulence.
We take a large glass jar and write down all of God’s miracles that we experience on pieces of paper and store them in the jar. Then, as a family, we like to regularly read each slip of paper aloud and give thanks for each wondrous act of God’s goodness.
Having our Miracle Jar has made my husband and l aware of just how much God intervened on our behalf in 2020, when we didn’t see a way out of situations in our own strength, and serve as a tangible reminder that He is constantly at work in our lives.
3. Keep a Prayer Journal
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6
Keeping a prayer journal not only helps you keep track of your prayer lists and requests, it is a wonderful way to remember God’s responses to your petitions.
I personally like to dedicate a double page in my prayer journal for each spiritual request. On the left-hand side of the double page l write down the date, who l am praying for, and what their needs are. Sometimes, l even write a formal prayer that l can read out loud during my quiet time with the Lord.
When God provides an answer to my prayer, l record His response on the right-hand side of the double page, including the date when my prayer was answered.
Being able to see my written prayer petitions and how God answered them on the same page makes it easier for me to read over former entries and appreciate how God heard me in my time of need and answered my prayers. It also encourages me to trust that God will answer my remaining prayers, which motivates me to keep on praying until l see a change!
4. Display God’s Word Visually
“Blessed is the one, who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take, or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” – Psalm 1:1-3
The most effective way to remember God’s promises is to keep those scriptures constantly before us as a visual reminder.
Print the Bible verses that speak the most to you about God’s goodness, frame them, and hang them in your home as wall art. Alternatively, you can print out or handwrite your favourite Bible verses and paste them in a Scripture scrapbook or on your bathroom mirror, walls, or refrigerator.
Whatever method you choose, the most important thing is to keep them in a visible and accessible place so we can regularly read our chosen Bible verses to remind ourselves of God’s love and mercy towards us. It has certainly helped me to keep God’s faithfulness at the forefront of my mind, when the current pandemic threatens to overrule my thoughts and feelings.
5. Share God’s Love with Others
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16
What better way to remember all the ways that God came through for you this year, than by showing the love and mercy of Jesus Christ to others?
If God has blessed you with mobility and health, then consider helping your elderly or sick neighbours by offering to do their shopping for them. Ring a friend who is experiencing difficulty as a consequence of the COVID-19 and let them know you’re there for them.
You can even get your kids involved by encouraging them to write letters to the inhabitants of senior citizen homes, which will help them feel less isolated.
In such unprecedented times, there are many who desperately need to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Your little act of kindness can serve as a living reminder that there’s a good God out there who cares for them. So let’s shine His light and bring some much-needed hope into the lives of others!
Although 2020 is a year that most of us are happy to put behind us, it has also been a year where God has shown us some of His biggest blessings: reminding us that He is on the throne and in charge, and not the Coronavirus. And that in spite of the havoc that COVID-19 has wreaked upon our lives over the past year, neither a virus nor any adversity arising from it, can keep us from His love.
This gives me peace as I continue to look to Him for wisdom and strength for 2021. I hope it does for you too!