2 Corinthians 12:10
We look to this coming new year with hope that 2021 will be better than 2020. But what happens if 2021 looks similar to 2020? Or worse (if we can even imagine that)? We can easily be overwhelmed by the rollercoaster ride of emotions—of optimism one day, pessimism the next. Hoping for the best, yet preparing for the worst, is emotionally exhausting. How can we remain strong?
What if the way to stay strong this coming year is not by waiting until conditions change but by leaning more on the only One who is strong, no matter what? Situations may change for the better or for the worse, but our bond with God in Christ is unchanging. It was this bond that gave Paul the assurance that even in times when he felt weak, he was strong.
In today’s scripture, Paul is writing to the church in Corinth about trouble in his own life. He describes how God has given him a thorn in the flesh, and his prayer to have it removed. The Lord responded, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” What thorn afflicted Paul is never revealed, and it is unknown if his prayer to have it removed was ever answered. However, Paul proclaims that even if the conditions of his life never changed, he was lifted up to “believe all things, bear all things.” Paul approached life’s infirmities with confidence, saying that “when he is weak, then he is strong.” Paul didn’t wait for events in life to change for him to grow stronger; he grew stronger by drawing closer to the heart of God.
The following prayer for 2021 is a prayer for “strength made perfect in weakness.”
Almighty God, as hard as this year was, we thank You for guiding us through times of fear and uncertainty. As hard as it is, we thank you for the challenges that have moved us to trust You more. Our whole world was turned upside down in 2020, but we have not lost hope. Thank you for being a faithful God who never abandons us.
Loving Lord, we ask for Your strength as we move into this new year. We ask that we would stay strong by trusting in You when all other sources of support falter and fail. Like Paul, we pray “our strength is made perfect in weakness.” The way ahead into 2021 is unknown; it may look exactly like it did this past year, but Lord we trust that Your strength will lead us and Your love will hold us.
Remind us in moments of doubt to trust in Your Word, for Your Word is the “lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path” (Psalm 119:105). Even in the darkest night, our steps will be secure as we move confidently in Your Spirit. Amen.
Blessings in Christ,