What a year 2020 has been! There have been unique challenges and at times things have seemed bleak, but as with every day and every year, there is always hope in the Lord. Not surprisingly, most of our top articles of 2020 deal in some way with the COVID-19 crisis. We hope these articles are refreshing reminders of the way that God continues to work in the world and our lives no matter what is going on. We pray alongside you for new strides in 2021, and we thank God for all of the blessings of 2020 because even in hard times there are blessings to be seen. We can trust that God is in control of everything no matter what our circumstances look like.
Here is our top 15 list covering Crosswalk’s most popular articles of 2020:
“A worldwide virus is not an unusual way for God to work. It’s quite possible—in fact it’s probable—that God intends to and is already accomplishing miracles in the wake of COVID-19. God values our transformation. Until we are uncomfortable, desperate, and despairing, we don’t often recognize and seek His power. When catastrophes happen, we must consider that God is at work and longing to bring about change in us. Since healthy change occurs collectively in body, mind, and soul, here are 10 simple ways the COVID-19 could improve your overall health and change your life for better:”
Sometimes it can be easy to only focus on the negatives…this article helps us see past those and focus on some positive aspects of this changing year, including the quarantine. It includes ideas for financial adjustments, getting outdoors, and opportunities for personal growth and redefining relationships.
“While it might be tempting to try and identify this virus with one of those plagues, I believe there are a couple of reasons not to. The first reason is that these seven plagues are identified as the completion of God’s wrath, and the plagues seem directed solely towards those who belong to the kingdom of the Antichrist. But this virus is not as discriminating. There seems to be no one who is immune to it. Saint and skeptic alike are affected by it.”
This article looks into why it’s unlikely that the coronavirus is one of the plagues in Revelation and also why it’s unlikely to be connected to end times. Jarrett also offers a thoughtful response on how Christians should react to the coronavirus. He encourages, “Live in such a way now that you glorify God. And, when this is over, your response to this virus and social disruption will continue to bear testimony to the goodness and love of God.”
“There are numerous reasons why the Word of God impresses upon Christians the necessity of meeting together. So unless you have a communicable illness, an emergency, a physical handicap, or are taking care of the poor/widow/orphan, it’s very wise and fulfilling to get to church.
If you’re home because you don’t want to get sick, then build others up by posting encouraging Scriptures on your social media. Exhort. Write out a prayer and share it. Send texts. Share your church’s broadcast with others. Post a favorite worship song. Go live and share some thoughts with your friends and family. Speak faith. Share a testimony.”
This article offers perspectives from both ‘team go-to-church’ and ‘team stay-home,’ it also offers suggestions for those who are sick or don’t want to get sick that you can still enjoy community and encourage others from home until you are able to meet again. This is still a hot topic today with people deciding whether it is wise to go or wise to stay home, this decision also depends on any state regulations or safety procedures your church has put in place such as limited occupancy, assigned seating, disinfecting areas afterward, asking people to wear masks when singing or during an entire service and so on.
“Instead of back-building worry and anxiety as we attempt to forecast an unknown future, Paul begs us to “Pray about everything in every way you know how!” (Ephesians 6:18 VOICE). Stop to consider what the situations of our daily lives might look like if we paused to pray into them and about them more feverishly. Whether you are starting a business meeting, church service, or family event you can use these prayers to join together to ask God for guidance and blessing.”
While this article was written before the mass exodus to work from home, it is still beneficial as we can always pray before any meeting (virtual or otherwise). Bucher includes five powerful opening prayers to help place your focus into perspective for peace and understanding. We should always ask God to bless our time together or settle us before a big meeting or conversation, it will help us take the focus off of ourselves or our nerves and instead place our focus on something more important.
“We all recognize that we have an enemy. We all know that Satan attacks. The question however is: how does he do it? What are the ways and methods the enemy uses to attack and try to get us off course? It is so very important to understand his methods because when you do, you can be on guard and ready to fight back. I believe Satan is really after three things in your life.
- Your relationship—Your walk with God.
- Your fellowship—Your communion with others in the body of Christ.
- Your discipleship—Your commitment to fulfill God’s purpose for your life.”
Mr. Haynes Jr. does an excellent job of reminding us about our true enemy, Satan. He poses seven questions connected to doubt that Satan directs toward Christians, including ‘Did God Really Forgive You?’ and ‘Does God Really Love You?’ When we feel alone we can tend to think that no one is on our side and everyone is letting us down. However, we need to remember as Haynes Jr. points out, “…the Holy Spirit who is in you, is greater than Satan who is in the world. He will attack. But by God’s grace and strength, you will fight back and you will win.”
“Just as the people of God learned in the Book of Isaiah simply being a person of God or doing the right things does not mean you will be spared from earthly harm, illness, or suffering. This fallen world is filled with illness and suffering, and we can often find ourselves in the midst of harm.
Being grateful in the midst of trials does not mean that Christians are to be some sort of stoic never showing emotion or pain; it means when you are in pain, when you are down, when you are ill and when you are suffering you can go to Him in prayer, you can put your trust in His ultimate healing…”
Is there too much sin in the world and now God is punishing us? I think we need to stop and remember that this whole world is tainted with sin, including the people who live in it, as a result of the fall. And part of this fallen world includes disease and illness; it cannot be avoided. But God’s grace covers a multitude of sins because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and His grace aids us during this current crisis. It could mean God brings someone home, it could mean God heals someone, it could mean God protects you from harm, or it could mean God brings hope to your heart and peace to your mind. His grace covers all.
“Do you ever wonder why Scripture tells us to count it all joy when we face various trials and tribulations in life? (James 1:2-4) Joy is an odd response to hardship and suffering. And yet our faith promises us that God is committed to doing good when the enemy intends harm. (Genesis 50:20) God is committed to bringing life out of death. (Romans 4:17) God is committed to taking every bad thing that happens to us and using it to bless us. (Romans 8:28) Trials can be a boot camp of blessings if we allow God to have His way.”
Segers does a fantastic job of reminding us of the blessings of God even in hard times; God can bless us with faith over fear, He reminds us of His power and peace, and how it is a blessing to be able to depend on God in any circumstance. God can also bless others through you, so be ready and open to be used by God as a way to deliver blessings to others.
“The Book of Judges shows the cycle that all societies go through. The first generation fights the battles. The second generation enjoys the spoils. The third generation gives it all away. Jesus fights the battles and as Christians we enjoyed the spoils. Fortunately, Jesus never needs the third option.
Many theologians believe the Rapture will occur before any one-world government is established.”
Dr. Roger Barrier writes regular articles for our ‘Ask Roger’ column, and again we see the popularity of a current crisis connected to end times concepts. Dr. Barrier points out 10 signs of a coming one world government, but he reassures Christians that it is Jesus who defeats His foes at the Battle of Armageddon. No matter what happens in this world, we know the ending. We know that God has won the battle and the war; God’s Son Jesus sacrificed His life so that death could be defeated for believers and one day at God’s appointed time this world will end and be redeemed for all time.
“Psalm 56:9 reminds us, “The very moment I call to you for a Father’s help the tide of the battle turns and my enemies flee. The one thing I know: God is on my side.” This Psalm stood true in biblical times, and it proves true in this day as well. Though there is great fear surrounding the threat of disease, we can rest assured that we have a Father in Heaven who is with us in all things. This truth is true especially today with the spread of the coronavirus.”
Logan shares three heartfelt prayers regarding the coronavirus; her prayers include a prayer for those who are ill, a prayer for those concerned with the spread, and a prayer for those treating the sick. She also includes Bible promises that encourage us to remember that true healing come from the Lord.
“The Psalms offer countless verses of real-life struggles and prayers for God’s peace and covering. No matter what we may be facing today, we can choose to set our hearts and minds on His truth, believing that He’s with us and giving us strength every step of the way.
Trust Him today. He knows all that concerns us, He understands, and He cares.”
It is easy to be overcome with anxiety in ‘normal times’ and it is even easier to be overcome with anxiety and worry during a time of personal or public crisis, such as the coronavirus crisis. Mrs. McDaniel offers us seven Scripture passages from the Psalms, each with a related prayer of encouragement. She reminds us that God gives us all we need, that He redeems and renews our life, and it is God who holds the final victory.
As Psalm 119:11 reminds us, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” And the truth is, we need the Word of the Lord far more than we need the news of the world. This quarantine is no surprise to God. And maybe, just maybe, He is allowing this season of uncertainty so that we will recenter our lives on His will, His way, and His Word.”
Waddle offers us 10 comforting Bible verses to memorize during the quarantine; she also offers words of encouragement and a prayer with each verse. These verses are not just for quarantines though, they are edifying and uplifting to memorize anytime. There is reason the Bible tells us to store God’s Word in our hearts; it so helpful in good times and bad to be able to recall Scripture to encourage ourselves or others in thought and conversation.
“There is not a person on this earth who hasn’t been impacted by the coronavirus, in one way or another, and right now, many people are anxious, on edge, and afraid. Some have even gone to the extreme, bunkering down and “panic purchasing” toilet paper, respiratory masks, and bottled water in preparation for the “end of the world.” Everyone will react to crisis and fear in different ways, but in trying and uncertain times like these, how should Christians respond? When the rest of the world is afraid and loses hope, how can Christians still bring the life and love of Jesus Christ to a sick and dying world?”
Ryan offers us 10 things Christians can do in faithful response to COVID-19. He reminds us not to surrender to fear, to choose compassion over convenience, and to be the church wherever you are and wherever you go. To accomplish this we need to pray and we need to place our hope and trust in the Lord at all times for all things.
“We want to trust God but there are times when peace eludes us. We’re worried and anxious. We don’t want to be brave this time. Then God reminds us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) Courage is fear that prays and calls on God.”
Mrs. Thompson offers us five courageous prayers for the pandemic to help us transition from panic to peace. She encourages us to take our worries to the Lord, to believe and know God hears our prayers, to pray with anticipation, to exercise wisdom and discernment, and to seek opportunities to care for others. There is something amazing about simply taking the focus off of yourself and placing it on God through prayer and also placing it on others to be a blessing. When you shift that focus from self to things outside of you, your perspective changes and you can usually see more clearly.
“This is why Coronavirus is scary. It’s scary because it makes us look at our own mortality. If you know Jesus, you have no reason to fear that. That being said, my next-door neighbor is a virologist, and it’s always wise to be thorough in following proper precautions. Be wise. The Bible has a lot to say about “pestilence” and our response to it! The word translated “pestilence” is often translated as “plague” or “disaster” in new versions of the English Bible. God is calling us to Himself.”
This is our second Ask Dr. Roger piece that made it into the top 15 for 2020. Dr. Barrier answers three questions: if the coronavirus is a sign of the end time, what the Bible says about God and disease (and our response), and how we can find peace and protection in the midst of a storm. He also includes seven reasons God sends disease and trouble in the Bible and leaves us with the encouraging passage of Psalm 91. God is our true refuge.
“Although Scripture can be a bit enigmatic about the nature of heaven, Jesus does make one thing clear in the Gospel of Luke: even if we marry on this earth to an earthly spouse, we will not stay married to them in heaven. One may wonder how this question comes about. Of all the things to wonder about heaven, a spouse doesn’t necessarily top the list of questions one may think to ask. However, it seems reasonable that Christians may wonder about this. Many Christians have lost a spouse along the way and want to reunite with them in heaven.”
Bolinger covers what the Bible says about marriage in heaven, the context and meaning of Luke 20, if we will still be married and if we will love our spouse in heaven, and how to live with eternity in mind. For those who are married your spouse is likely the closest person to you in your life and the person who knows you the best. For those who are not currently married, they can imagine this scenario with their best friend or closest family member. We all have people we love and it is natural to wonder what kind of relationship will we have with those we know in heaven. It’s important to remember, as Bolinger points out, that God gives us many good gifts on this earth, but His greatest gift to us is Himself. Living in the presence of God is something that can be hard to fully grasp in our earthly lives, but it is something we can trust in and hope for. God is the One our hearts truly long for.
“I’m so glad they are using their God-given talent to give praise to His name. Just listen and be reminded of why this song is such a special one in all of our hearts. We are blessed by the King of all kings and His love reigns down on us all.”
We hope you have enjoyed reading our top 15 Crosswalk articles of 2020, and we hope they have brought you encouragement, understanding, and peace over the last 12 months. We look forward to bringing you new content to explore God’s Word and refresh your soul with hope in the months to come.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/pondsaksit/deagreez/ridofranz
Liz Auld is the managing editor for Salem Web Network; she edits and writes content across the editorial sites (Crosswalk.com, Biblestudytools.com, iBelieve.com, Christianity.com). She has a B.A. in Religious Studies and has taken post-graduate classes in Theology and Global Studies. She enjoys reading books from a variety of genres, trying new recipes, and visiting family.