For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.COLOSSIANS 3:3–4
In many ways, 2020 was a lost year, a great, gaping void between 2019 and 2021. As the months unfolded, loss mounted upon loss: weddings postponed, graduations held via Zoom, professional projects left unfulfilled, churches emptied, businesses shuttered. But 2020 proved even more relentless. Racial tensions reached a fever pitch. Political unrest followed. Our civil institutions strained. All the while the virus raged, taking no notice of our crisis of justice. The sick and the dying continued to stream into hospitals. Our healthcare system threatened to buckle under the stress.
What do we make of it all? The collective mood of the nation has been chaotic: anger, confusion, uncertainty, powerlessness, cynicism, and fear. What we are coming to realize now is that it was all an expression of grief. We have been mourning — we are mourning still — even if we didn’t quite realize it in the moment. Grief is always a response to a kind of death, and 2020 brought death of every kind. We are still reeling.
Yet, for the people of God, death never has the last word, no matter how loudly it shouts and fumes.
What does it mean to be Resurrection people at a time such as this? There are no easy answers; there are many questions that will remain unresolved this side of paradise.
“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” What is Paul trying to tell us here? At the very least, he is suggesting that the doctrine of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ holds out hope that while we have lost much, all is not lost.
Why did all this happen? How will we ever recover the things we’ve lost in 2020? How long will this last? Paul doesn’t answer these questions, exactly, but he does tell us that the truest and most ultimate meaning of our lives is being held secure within God’s own life. This challenges us to change our frame of mind when it comes to grieving what we’ve lost in 2020. What if these things are not really lost forever, but rather “hidden with Christ in God”? What if God intends somehow to transfigure our pain so that it will one day appear in glory?
Nothing is lost that won’t be found. But for now, we wait.
What unresolved wounds are you still carrying from the past year? List those out and offer those to the LORD.
Dr. Ryan Tafilowski holds a PhD in systematic theology, a master’s in theology in history from the University of Edinburgh, and a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Colorado Christian University. Tafilowski has served as an adjunct professor in the Division of Christian Thought at Denver Seminary, adjunct professor of theology at Colorado Christian University, and postgraduate instructor in theology and ecclesiastical history at the University of Edinburgh. He serves as the lead pastor at Foothills Fellowship Church in Denver and as Theologian-in-Residence at the Denver Institute for Faith and Work.