I joked with my wife on our way back from her first chemo dose, “COVID in 2020, cancer in 2021, I think we should take a break for 2022.” Our lives have certainly been interrupted! I don’t know about you but it’s hard for me to recall life quickly before COVID when masks, vaccinations, election/voter controversy, and political debates about all these sorts of things.

Were you working towards any goal before COVID hit? For example: “By,” I don’t know, “June 2020, this [insert whatever fits here: project, goal, situation, relationship, move, job, whatever] will be reached, resolved, accomplished.” Then life threw us all a distraction, a very unwelcome interruption.

We’re entering mid-2021 and life has returned to some normalcy, albeit a “new (maybe unwelcome) normal.” Maybe you’ve not been struck with cancer, so you’ve managed to put some goals back online. Ones that weren’t accomplished in 2020, but you’re aiming for its execution now. Some of you share my family’s situation and it’s not COVID in 2020, but now it’s another unwelcome interruption in 2021. It could be that some of you reading this have been saying, “2020 and 2021? Kevin, I got you beat, let’s go back to,” and you’re waiting for a year a decade or more to return so you can return to normal.

The writer James, in the Bible, has the audacity to challenge us, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” There have been lots of passages in the Bible that hit me differently when I’m in the middle of what they’re talking about.

We usually think of goals in the positive light. Jesus’ goal was to die on the Cross. What if the crosses of suffering we embrace are indeed the goals that God has called us to endure for His glory and the good of others? What if your unwelcome interruption has the opportunity to be embraced as your goal?

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