As we look back and watch 2020 in the rearview mirror of our lives, most will testify that 2020 was a year that will be associated with some form of loss. In this issue, Rev. Kimbro observes: “The year 2020 has been an unusual year to say the least. The coronavirus and its corollaries have had an unexpected and unprecedented impact upon our nations.” An online science magazine also included this sentiment: “2020 is a lost year on many fronts—including the loss of lives, the loss of jobs and the resultant economic slump, and the loss of certainty in a world we once knew—whose effects may be irreparable.” Beyond Covid-19, the past twelve months will have seen many of our readers losing loved ones, health, security, hope, and happiness.
Was 2020 a lost year? Is there a difference between a year of losses and a lost year? Does the thought of a lost year not suggest pointlessness? A lost year says we should forget 2020 and move from 2019 to 2021. Yet in God’s economy, a year of losses may mark a year that stands tall for good in the final charting of our lives. How do we rightly calculate loss?
One way to consider our losses is to remember those things that remain. There are certain things that the believer can never lose. We will never suffer the loss of Christ’s presence. The loss of the material and temporal may cause a discontented spirit. The writer of Hebrews confronts that tendency with the remembrance of the Savior’s presence. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
The child of God will also never lose his soul. The fool is warned about an attachment to the world that leads to the ruin of the soul. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) The precious truth implied in this is, even though we may lose the whole world, our souls are eternally secure. The believer is safe and secure in union with Christ. The latter verses of Romans 8 should encourage us to remember that nothing that has happened in 2020 can separate us from the love of Christ.
Peter encourages his readers to be realistic. “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:24-25). Loss is to be expected living in a fallen world. But the Word of Christ in the gospel endures. Though truth has fallen in the street, God’s truth remains. Whatever changes we have encountered in 2020 and whatever changes await in 2021, the truth remains that sinners are reconciled to God through the work of Christ. Furthermore, that everlasting gospel word tells us that, though we lose all, we cannot lose our inheritance. It is incorruptible, and undefiled. It cannot fade away and is truly reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4).
When we consider the things that remain, no year will ever be a lost year. No matter what losses we will suffer, the sincere Christian will always enjoy the presence of Christ every year as we hold onto and trust the unfailing Word of our unchanging God.